LINCOLN- Secretary of State Bob Evnen is pleased to announce the funding for new election equipment was passed in the 2019 biennium budget. “Statewide equipment replacement funds for new ballot counting equipment and ADA ballot marking machines have been approved with bipartisan support by the legislature.” Secretary Evnen stated, “I would like to thank both Governor Ricketts and Speaker Jim Sheer of Norfolk for their hard work.”
Nebraska’s declining ballot counting equipment was purchased in 2005 with Federal Help America Vote Act funds. These machines have been used in Nebraska for more than 13 years. While accurate and secure, parts are becoming scarce, and technologically superior vote tabulators are now available. “I am pleased to bring new ballot counting machines that will bring new technology, reliability, efficacy and an added step in security within my first year of office.” states Secretary Evnen.
The new machines will save both time and money. The ballot counting machines can count folded ballots, includes new technology, add another layer of security, and give voters confidence in the vote they cast. The new equipment will be delivered to all 93 counties, and training will be provided for all 93 county officials, prior to the May 12, 2020 statewide primary election. The new ballot counting equipment will adhered to Nebraska’s standard of voting by use of a paper ballot.
Additional funding, which was approved in the 2019 biennium budget, is allocated to purchase ADA approved ballot marking voting machines. “I am committed to making all polling places accessible to the ADA disabled community,” Secretary Evnen explained. “The ballot marking equipment that members of the disabled community use will have the same voting experience as any other voter at a polling site.” The new ADA auto mark machines, which are a fraction of the size of the older models, will both be easier to transport for the poll workers at the polling sites and user friendly for voters.
Finally, the mainline biennium budget in terms of the Secretary of State office, will increase existing fee flexibility. This base cash fund will rely less on taxes and the general fund. “Fee based funding will help the Secretary of State office work toward self-sufficiency,” explained Secretary Evnen.
“Nebraska’s elections are secure, reliable and accurate. This is one of the steps that we are taking to ensure that our elections remain that way,” Evnen said. “Nebraska’s eligible voters can be confident that their ballots will continue to be cast securely and counted accurately. We are heading in the right directions for Nebraska voters.”