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County to get new election equipment
Replacement units will speed voting process
voter pads
A Barton County election worker and a voter utilize one of the electronic poll pads during a past election. The County Commission approved the purchase of new pads Monday.

The current electronic poll pads used at voting precincts and in the Barton County Clerk’s Office have reached the end of their life span, County Clerk Donna Zimmerman told the County Commission Monday morning.

So, the County Commission approved the purchase of new pads, as well as other related election equipment, totalling $95,915.

Omaha, Neb.-based Election Systems and Software has a poll pad product that integrates with the ES&S electronic voting equipment and ES&S ELection Voter Information System (ELVIS) voter registration database. Fifteen additional ExpressVote ballot marking devices are also quoted.  

“The additional equipment should help to expedite lines of voters on election day,” Zimmerman said. The cost for all equipment includes installation, training and a one-year warranty. 

It is possible the cost could qualify for  to American Rescue Plan Act funds, she said.   

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, also called the COVID-19 Stimulus Package or American Rescue Plan, is a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11 to speed up the recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing recession. Since this will allow for better distancing at the polling places, the purchase may be eligible.

These pads replace ones purchased from Knowink Innovating Election Systems of St. Louis, Mo., in June 2016. The county purchased an additional one in August 2018.

Then, in October 2020, Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas funding from the state was tapped to purchase two more, but Zimmerman said she was not informed then that these pads were soon to be obsolete.

Poll pads take the place of paper poll books. But, are not to be confused with electronic voting machines and have nothing to do with casting ballots.

Barton County Commission meeting at a glance

Hear is a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Monday morning:

• Approved the purchase of voting equipment.

• Adopted a National Crime Victims’ Rights Week proclamation.

The County Attorney’s Office requested the proclamation. The week has been selected to “reaffirm the county’s commitment to respect and enforce victims’ rights and address their needs during Crime Victims’ Rights Week and throughout the year,” said victim advocate Camila Komarek.

• Approved the Central Kansas Community Corrections fiscal year 2022 Comprehensive Plan.

The Kansas Department of Corrections requires submitting a Comprehensive Plan (grant application) each year. This requires the review and approval of the Barton County Commissioners, as the administrative county for the 20th Judicial District. The plan includes a funding request of $510,344.14 for program operations and $55,350 for behavioral health, said CKCC Director Amy Boxberger. 

• Approved the 2022 20th Judicial District Juvenile Services budget.

The Juvenile Services Department requested approval of the 2022 Fiscal Budget as prepared by JJA Director Marissa Woodmansee. The budget has been prepared based on figures provided by the Kansas Department of Corrections - Juvenile Services. The budget includes $635,847.82 for Juvenile Services, $160,391.19 for evidence-based programs and $128,313.00 in reinvestment funds, Woodmansee said.

• Heard a COVID-19 update from County Health Officer Karen Winkelman.