Wausau Wisconsin Daily Herald

May 17, 2006


County board rejects Diebold voting machines

Voting machine grant is rejected



of The Northwestern


The Winnebago County Board of Supervisors Tuesday narrowly rejected a proposal to accept $294,000 in grant funding for touch-screen voting machines based on concerns regarding the integrity of the system.


The board fell two votes short of the necessary 26 votes required to accept the funding for the purchase of 49 Diebold touch-screen machines.


Federal law will require each polling place to have a machine accessible to handicapped voters by September. While the law doesn’t specify the type of machine, Winnebago County Deputy Clerk Pat Rabe said the Diebold model is the only one allowable in Wisconsin that’s compatible with county voting systems.


“This is not optional,” she said.


Supervisors, including Bill Wingren and Jef Hall, came out strongly against the purchase of the Diebold machines based on issues such as reported high failure rates and the potential that the machines could be hacked into.


“It’s not that electronic voting overall is bad,” Hall said. “But this is a bad system.”


The board briefly discussed reconsideration of the measure.

Instead, Supervisor Harvey Rengstorf agreed to bring a similar resolution up for further discussion with the county’s judiciary committee to learn more about the system and gather additional public input. If passed, that resolution could come back to the full board.


In other action Tuesday, the board approved 3 percent annual salary raises for constitutional officers outside the sheriff, who will receive 3.5 percent raises.


The board also approved a resolution asking County Executive Mark Harris to seek a new court commissioner. One of three court commissioner positions will go vacant due to Karen Seifert’s recent election as judge.


Jim Collar: (920) 426-6676 or