County Board approves new voting machines

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Adams County Board Chairman Kent Snider and Ambulance Services Director John Simon present awards to Bill Ballard and Tom Landwehr. — J. Robert Gough

QUINCY — The Adams County Board approved to spend about $258,000 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds on new election equipment Tuesday night.

The current machines are 18 years old. Finance Committee Chairman Bret Austin said the 45 touchscreen DS-200 machines are an improvement to the technology of the voting system.

“I think we have about 10 of these already…reviewed them in a couple of elections and then these have been vetted by the state,” Austin said. “We think this would be a great addition to helping with our voter accuracy, voter security, and just overall the ease of voting which is something that ARPA relates to and approves.”

Joe Zanger (R-7th District) asked about the credibility of the ballots under this system.

“The ballot itself is still printed out by the machine,” Austin said. “This is just the interface for the voter. So it improves access. It’s got visibility…sight impaired, hearing impaired, things like that.”

County Board Chairman Kent Snider also said the County has received four resumes for the County Board’s administrative services/human resource position. He said he hoped to have one selected before the March County Board meeting.

Snider had considered adding those duties to County Clerk/Recorder Ryan Niekamp, but there was some question if that would be allowed by statute as he would be receiving additional compensation for duties above those of his elected position.

Snider said, eventually, it was determined that with already running two offices and 2022 being an election year, it would have been difficult for Niekamp to maintain all of that.

Niekamp was absent from Tuesday night’s meeting.

The position was vacated when Sue Hester resigned in April 2021. She is now an administrator in the Adams County Jail.

The Board also:

  • Heard details, but took no action, of an ARPA fund request from the Mill Creek Water District on Monday. Mill Creek officials originally asked for $2.6 million for a new 300,000-gallon water tower, which was rejected by the Finance Committee because they did not believe it would qualify under ARPA criteria. Mill Creek then came back with a $270,000 plan for about 3,000 feet of water lines near 54th Street. Mill Creek has more than 2,200 customers, primarily in Melrose Township.
  • Received a report on the ACE program which helps place potential employees who are on probation in the Adams County judicial system. Fourteen of 29 people have been placed with companies such as Knapheide, Denman, Hollister-Whitney, Titan Wheel and Manchester Tank.
  • Recognized Tom Landwehr and Bill Ballard for more than 30 years of service with the Adams County Ambulance Service.

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