Voting Machines

Blackwell spokesman says systems have to be in place by January

A spokesman for Ohio's chief elections officer says the state's county boards of elections have to be ready with federally compliant voting machine systems by January in case there's a special election for an empty congressional seat.

Spokesman Carlo LoParo says Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell is hoping most of the state's 88 counties will have new systems in place by November for municipal elections. Many county elections officials say they would prefer using the equipment before the statewide primary next May, when federal law requires the systems to be in place, because of heavier turnout expected then.

The federal requirement, which calls for the removal of punch card systems, grew out of problems in the presidential election in Florida in 2000.