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Cape Girardeau County clerk to seek bids on major election equipment upgrades
County Clerk Kara Clark Summers received approval from county commissioners Thursday to obtain bids for a more efficient voter canvassing system and new voting equipment.
Every two years, counties are required to send all voters updated registration cards by mail. Summers said that incorrect addresses cause many of the cards, which cannot legally be forwarded, to be returned to the clerk's office, wasting money and resources. This time, she would like to try a system used by other counties that matches address records with the U.S. Postal Service to decrease misdirected cards.
Bids will also be considered for new voting equipment. New software and hardware estimated to cost $250,000 to $300,000 would replace outdated and mechanically failing technology obtained in 2004. Malfunctioning scanning, printing and memory mechanisms are major concerns, and Summers hopes the new machines, which have just been certified by the state, will also have lower maintenance costs. An additional expense that will be considered are e-polling books, which will replace paper voter lists at polling places, reducing printing costs and streamlining operations.
"A lot of the clerks that I have talked to are having the same problems. My main thing is fair and efficient elections," Summers said. "We need to have the quality of equipment to run efficient elections."
The county is also updating technology in the 911 system and coroner's office.
The Computer Aided Dispatch system used by 911 was approved for an update for a cost of around $880,000. Richard Knaup, director of emergency services, said in his request that the upgrade would be paid for by 911 funds and no money would come from county general revenue.
Coroner John Clifton's request to purchase an Apple iPad for $709.98 was approved, which will enable him to meet mandates to file death certificates electronically and allow him to make and email electronic field notes and digital photographs.
In other business, the commissioners finalized the refinancing of the jail bonds approved Oct. 13. The savings realized will be $150,000 that can be used for county capital improvements. The annual payment amount was decreased in the process and the bond terms were extended from 2018 to 2022. Funds from the refinancing with be available to the county on Nov. 15.
The commission acknowledged that Commissioner Paul Koeper was reappointed a member of the Judicial Finance Commission of the Missouri Supreme Court, which resolves budget disputes between counties and their respective circuit courts. His term will end July 2, 2014.
1 Barton Square, Jackson, MO