During the 2017 Legislative Session, the legislature appropriated $275,000 towards voting equipment. Hopefully, it was the first of many appropriations to address Utah’s aging voting equipment. Utah’s voting equipment infrastructure, which has been in place for over a decade, runs off of software that is no longer supported suggesting that that voting equipment is not long of this earth. Our best estimate to replace that equipment: $10 million statewide.
At last week’s UAC Management Conference, the Lt. Governor’s Office shared with county clerks the latest from the State’s Voting Equipment Selection Committee. The committee (upon which sit a number of county clerks) recently drafted an RFP to select the next generation of voting equipment in the State of Utah. That RFP will soon be sent to various voting equipment vendors and then the committee will begin the task of identifying the best equipment for Utah’s needs.
Just like we did a decade ago, Utah’s counties and the Lt. Governor’s Office are hopeful that we can purchase voting equipment statewide rather than leaving it to each of Utah’s 29 counties to find their own replacement. There are several advantages to a statewide contract including economies of scale and a broader knowledge base to draw from should any election’s office run into challenges with the equipment.
The Lt. Governor’s Office expressed to the county clerks a desire to see at least half of the projected $10 million price tag covered by the state, but to receive that kind of appropriation from the legislature is going to require a coordinated effort from Utah’s counties. Please be prepared to assist as this issue continues to develop.