Leon County on the Way to Compliance

Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho says the voting equipment vendor Diebold has set a June delivery date.

Initially all three state certified voting equipment vendors refused to sell to Leon County until Diebold went back on its decision and signed a contract 30 days ago. The problems started in Leon County when Sancho said he couldn't find state certified HAVA compliant equipment he felt would safeguard the Leon County vote.

That was in January when the county missed the Help America Vote Act deadline requirements, and he has said he's not confident with the new equipment the county is about to get. The problem is no paper trail.

Ion Sancho, Leon County Supervisor of Elections, said, "One of the things to make perfectly clear to the citizens of Leon County, no one is required to use the new voting technology. It's a supplement to our existing system. It's a supplement as required by federal law."

And he says he's not expecting a large number of people use the 125 new machines as opposed to the county's optical scan system.

Sancho adds, "The overwhelming population of people will typically vote on optical scan; people are comfortable with that. It's the most accurate voting system in the country, so we don't anticipate there will be a lot of people casting ballots on these devices."

The county had to turn over more than a half million dollars in grant money to the state in February, a consequence for failing to meet HAVA requirements. However, the county expects to get that money back.

Ken Morris, Leon County Intergovernmental Affairs Coordinator, said, "The Legislature reverted the money back to the county and we have another chance to meet the new deadline."

Sancho added, "We will in fact be in the same place as everybody else."

In February, the Florida attorney general launched an investigation into the three voting vendors Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia. The attorney general’s office says since it's an anti-trust investigation, it's going to take about a year or more for any answers.

Sancho says with the new voting equipment, he's going to need at least 100 people with technical backgrounds to work at the polls on the election days to make sure the new machines are properly working.

It will be paid time. Anyone who's interested can give his office a call at 606-VOTE.