June 8th 2018
State Rep. John Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake) applauded Wednesday’s passage of Senate Bill (SB) 135, which would invest more than $100 million in state funds for Ohio counties to purchase new, modern voting equipment. These funds will be used to purchase new voting machines and associated equipment including marking devices, automatic tabulating equipment and associated ancillary costs. The legislation also appropriates $10 million to reimburse counties who purchased new voting systems on or after January 1, 2014.
“Every eligible voter’s participation in each election is fundamental to the success and vitality of our democracy,” said Rogers. “To ensure the accuracy and validity of our election results requires equipment that works and safeguards each vote from outside interference. These much needed funds will help our counties and local Boards of Elections see to it that come Election Day, your vote counts."
In an effort to bolster the state’s voting infrastructure cybersecurity, state Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) offered an amendment on the floor that would have required that’s funds also be used to require risk-limiting audits of election results. The amendment was tabled along party lines. Ohio was among 21 states whose election infrastructure was targeted by Russian hackers during the 2016 election
SB 135 comes after House Democrats pushed for new voting equipment during the state’s Capital Budget process earlier this year, but Republican lawmakers rebuffed their attempts.
With its passage in the House, SB 135 now moves to the Senate for a concurrence before heading to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.