Chair of Monroe County’s election board, Carolyn VandeWiele, responds to Charlotte Zietlow at the board’s Oct. 3, 2019 meeting. (Dave Askins/Beacon)
An optical scanner from ES&S. (Dave Askins/Beacon)
Hart Intercivic’s Lawrence Leach demonstrates his company’s equipment for Angie Purdie, who’s administrator for the board of county commissioners. (Dave Askins/Beacon)
The Bloomington city council’s most recent regular meeting fell on Nov. 6, the day after municipal elections were held in Bloomington for just two of six council districts.
Elections had been cancelled by the election board in the other four districts because races were uncontested there. None of the citywide races—mayor, clerk, or at-large city council seats—had more than one candidate on the ballot and no write-in candidates were registered.
A couple of councilmembers on Wednesday mentioned vote centers, as opposed to precinct polling stations, as something that should have been tried, so that elections could have been held everywhere, without incurring too much additional expense.
Asked by The Beacon on Friday, the election board chair, Carolyn VandeWiele, said that completing the statutory process for establishing vote centers for this year’s municipal election, even starting in July, would not have been feasible. It’s also probably not practicable for 2020, she said.
Of more immediate concern is the acquisition of new voting equipment.
Responding to a question about the timetable for selecting a vendor for the county’s new election equipment, VandeWiele said on Friday the committee making the selection was behind the optimal schedule outlined in the county’s request for proposals (RFP). The timetable in the RFP foresaw a vote on the recommended vendor by the county commissioners by their Nov. 6 regular meeting.
The committee is still waiting for answers to questions that it has asked of the state’s election division and the vendors themselves. VandeWiel also said the committee is checking references for the two vendors. The next meeting of the vendor selection committee is scheduled for Nov. 18, she said.
VandeWiel told The Beacon that even if the committee is right now a little behind the optimal timeline laid out in the RFP, “We won’t be behind when it comes to having equipment for the spring…We still have a fair amount of time to deal with this. We will have the equipment on time. It’s just a matter of making sure we’ve crossed all the t’s and dotted all the i’s.” Continue reading “Election equipment vendor choice for Monroe County still getting mulled by board, vote centers unlikely for 2020”