Kane swaps punch cards for electronic ballot system
by Amy Fischer Roth Chicago Tribune
An Excerpt from The Chicago Tribune Story
In a move designed to bring Kane voters into the electronic age, the County Board voted Tuesday to replace its aging punch-card ballots with a $4.5 million electronic system.
The board, in a 20-3 decision, approved the purchase of the system, called eSlate®, from Hart InterCivic of Austin, Texas, for use in all of Kane County except Aurora, which has its own election commission and has not decided whether it will make the switch. The company expects the system to be ready in time for the March primary.
The federal law, which requires voting system upgrades by Jan. 1, also provides incentives for governments to replace punch-card ballots by November 2006. Kane stands to get about $1 million to provide assistance-free voting for people with all types of disabilities and an estimated $667,000 if it opts to retire punch cards, according to board member Gerald Jones, head of the subcommittee that studied alternative plans.
The system incorporates a dial-type system, called a select wheel, to navigate a screen-based electronic ballot, according to company CEO David Hart. The system was used in nine states in November.
Jones said the county will pay $2 million in the first year of the agreement with Hart InterCivic. A little more than $2 million more would be paid the next nine years to lease equipment and pay other operating costs.