Add new voting machines to the needs of the Lucas County Board of Elections.
During the Nov. 4 election, three polling places lost power for a period of time and voters were given paper ballots to avoid using up the limited battery power.
Elections Director Gina Kaczala said the machines' backup power could have been used, but because there was no guarantee that the power outage would end soon they decided to use paper ballots to preserve the power.
"Those machines are so old [battery power] might last an hour or two," Kaczala said.
She said the batteries were fully charged before Election Day.
"That's part of the diagnostic process," Kaczala said.
The machines were purchased around 2005 and are getting older and less able to store power, Kaczala said.
She and deputy director LaVera Scott said they'd rather have voters vote by paper ballot than take a chance on using up the battery power and then having a power failure after the polls close at 7:30 p.m.
"At the end of the night it's more important to be able to shut down your units properly," Scott said.
The shutdown is when the memory cards are removed, a process that requires power.
Kaczala said the touch-screen voting machines were paid for with federal funds and the Ohio Secretary of State is looking for ways to replace machines in Ohio. Some counties, including Cuyahoga, use paper ballots for all their voting. The ballots are fed through a high-speed scanner.
The board has no immediate plans to replace the machines and is at present focused on acquiring digital poll books for the workers who are still using paper poll books. The board is also still waiting for the Lucas County Commissioners to settle on a new consolidated location.
The commissioners' preferred site is One Lake Erie Center downtown at Huron Street and Jefferson Avenue. The site has limited parking. For early voting, the public would have to use the pay lot across Jefferson.
The county commissioners insisted in their request for proposals on having the board of elections in the central business district.