Crain's Cleveland Business


County chiefs rant over voting machines



3:47 pm, September 6, 2007


Cuyahoga County commissioners are annoyed at the growing cost of the county’s electronic voting system, and they vented their frustrations with the county’s election process at their meeting today.


“We should sue Diebold,” said Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, referring to Premier Election Solutions Inc., the new name for the Diebold Inc. subsidiary that sells electronic voting machines. The company sold the county electronic voting machines that have played a role in Election Day problems in recent years.


But assistant county prosecutor David Lambert questioned the wisdom of suing a vendor whose support the county relies on to maintain its voting machines and computer systems.


“We need Diebold to fix (the machines),“ he said.


Commissioner Tim Hagan suggested that the state should change the 2008 primary election from March to May to give counties a chance to solve their ballot problems.


“Hanging chads were much less of a problem,” said Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones. Mr. Jones was referring to the problems in Florida in the 2000 presidential election that hurried the adoption of electronic voting systems.


Mr. Dimora said he wants to scrap the Diebold touch-screen system. The county paid more than $24 million for the machines, which were supposed to streamline voting. Instead, the county spent $6.5 million above the $1.9 million originally budgeted for extra help and training before the November 2006 election, which went off relatively smoothly.


Mr. Dimora wants the Diebold system replaced by optical-scan voting machines.



© 2007 Crain Communications Inc.