Agreement in the Making

By: Laura Kadechka
By: Laura Kadechka

Leon County remains as the only Florida county not in compliance with the Help America Vote Act, which requires counties to purchase equipment that is accessible for those with disabilities. The county has already paid a penalty, forced to return $500,000 in grant money, but a deal could soon be on the way.

The Leon County Supervisor of Election’s Office and Leon County administrators met with one of the three companies offering state-certified voting systems under the Help America Vote Act, or HAVA.

There's still no contract; however, elections officials say a deal is looking favorable.

The Leon County Supervisor of Election’s Office says it will meet the Leon County Commission's demands for a deal to purchase HAVA compliant voting equipment by Feb. 28.

"We're looking at a Monday deadline to try and get the figures, the cost figures, what's certified in the state of Florida,” explains Janet Olin, assistant Leon County Supervisor of Elections.

Olin says her office and county staff met with representatives with Sequoia Voting Systems on Monday, and depending on what her office will be allowed to use, the cost figures they'll present to the Leon County Commission on Tuesday will range $2 to $7 million.

"We just need to see what type of optical scan voting machine they have certified in the state, if it's an old one that may not work as well for us and we may need to go with more touch screens,” Olin adds.

As for the $564,000 grant Leon County had to return to the state of Florida last Thursday, a result of failing to comply with HAVA, county commissioners say they will lobby to get the money back.

"Leon County and the Department of State agree that we’re going to try to see that we get the money back through the legislative process, we just can’t assure it,” Florida Secretary of State Sue Cobb says.

Janet Olin says that Sequoia Voting Systems has agreed to provide at least 10 machines by April 1, in time for Springtime Tallahassee so they can launch a voter education campaign.


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