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Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Lake County keeping eye on election machine ratio

Lake County officials remain concerned about a state law that could force the county to purchase additional voting machines.

A ratio that requires each county to have one voting machine per 175 registered voters was enacted in 2006 and is slated to go into effect next year.

Eliminating that ratio had been discussed as part of the two-year state budget that was passed June 30, but it ultimately did not happen.

Earlier this year, Lake County elections officials estimated the county would have to purchase an additional 54 voting machines based on a voter registration level of more than 152,000.

The cost would be $100,000 to $200,000, depending on if the equipment was new or used.

Lake County Commissioner Daniel P. Troy said during a meeting this week that spending that money to purchase additional machines was an “unnecessary expenditure.”

Troy also recalled that county Elections Board Director Scott E. Daisher previously stated to commissioners publicly that the longest anyone had to wait to vote in the November 2012 election was a report of a 30-minute wait when the polls opened in one precinct.

Otherwise, there have been no long wait times so purchasing additional machines simply isn’t needed, officials said.

Troy said the County Commissioners Association of Ohio and Lake County officials will continue to speak with state lawmakers, including state Sen. Nina Turner, a Cleveland Democrat who represents half of Lake County as part of District 25 in the Ohio Senate.

Turner also is running for Ohio Secretary of State next year and likely will face incumbent Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.

When the law was enacted in 2006, it came as memories were fresh about reports of voters across the state who weren’t able to cast a ballot or had to wait for so long to vote that they decided not to bother.

Troy and other election officials in Lake County now argue the ratio is no longer necessary to implement because voters have more options available to them to vote absentee and that has helped alleviate long lines and made it easier to vote.

An interesting question to ponder is what would happen if the law isn’t changed or a solution isn’t reached in time and the county decided not to go ahead and purchase additional machines? Perhaps a potential legal challenge?

It will be interesting to see what develops.

Medicaid expansion

Gov. John Kasich continues to push for an expansion of Medicaid for people who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

The Columbus Dispatch reported Friday that the governor will ask the seven-member Ohio Controlling Board to approve spending about $2.56 billion in federal money to cover an estimated 275,000 low-income Ohioans under Medicaid.

With four Republicans, two Democrats and Board Chairman Randy Cole, who is a policy advisor for the state Office of Budget Management, it will be interesting to see if a Medicaid expansion basically skips past the Ohio General Assembly.

Candidate endorsements

Candidates in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties who appear on the Nov. 5 ballot may send in listings of endorsements they receive for the upcoming election via email, fax or standard mail. They will appear online periodically on The News-Herald’s Northern Ohio Politics blog.

Deadline reminder

The weekly deadline for information to appear in this column is each Wednesday at 5 p.m. Email or fax is preferred.


n Matt Jaworski, candidate for Wickliffe Council at large, hosts a bowling fundraiser, noon to 3 p.m. today at Wickliffe Lanes. See Jaworski or Matt Gallik.

n Lake County Commissioner Judy Moran hosts Oktoberfest 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 17 at American Legion Hall in Willowick. See Paul Miller or Kevin Malecek.

n Lake County Recorder Ann M. Radcliffe hosts spaghetti dinner fundraiser 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Park Road Grill in Painesville Township. See Terri Conley.

John Arthur Hutchison

Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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