Cook County Clerk David Orr, in collaboration with the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, hosted a demonstration expo for vendors today to showcase their balloting solutions, as both election authorities seek to replace their voting machines.
The demonstrations were held at the Union League Club in downtown Chicago for invited election and public officials as well as suburban and city election equipment workers.
The five participating vendors at Monday’s event were asked to demonstrate a typical election precinct set-up with demonstration ballots that “voters” and “poll workers” may mark, cast and tabulate. The new voting system will serve all voters, no matter if they vote early in-person, vote by mail, or vote in person on Election Day.
“Our election equipment has served us well for a decade, but our equipment has aged significantly,” Orr said. “The public, as well as our poll workers, deserve the best election equipment experience that address the technological and security issues of tomorrow to ensure the most seamless ballot casting process for each of our more than 1.5 million registered suburban Cook County voters.”
Today’s participating venders were:
- Clear Ballot Group, Inc., of Boston, MA
- Dominion Voting, of Denver, CO
- Election Systems & Software, of Omaha, NE
- Hart InterCivic of Austin, TX
- Smartmatic, of Boca Raton, FL
“There is no time better than now to invest in the true heartbeat of what makes our democracy work – the electoral process,” Orr said.
Cook County last rolled out new election equipment in 2006. The cost of the equipment then was $25 million.
An RFP will be issued in the months ahead and it is anticipated that the investment for new election equipment for the Cook County Clerk’s office will cost an estimated $25 million with a target to test new equipment in some suburban Cook County locations as early as 2018. The new equipment will be financed through bond funds.