Iowa Secretary of State (SoS) Paul Pate was interviewed by Drivetime 380 on Monday, March 20th. He and I do not agree on the cost of an ePollbook or how many ePollbooks are needed per precinct in Linn County. He indicates the bill currently does not require Linn County to buy ePollbooks, but admits we will likely want to, which is correct. Pate states we can borrow the money to buy the ePollbooks. I admit we can borrow the money, but someone has to pay back the loan. That “someone” is the taxpayers of Linn County.
So let’s play this out on a statewide basis. According to testimony offered in the Iowa House of Representatives during the debate of HF516 – (I was in the House gallery during the debate) – 600 precincts in Iowa do not have ePollbooks. If that’s true and the average number of ePollbooks required in those precincts equals three and the per ePollbook cost is $870, then 3 x $870 x 600 = $1,566,000 That’s $1.5M to be borrowed from a revolving loan fund that that has yet to be funded. And that’s $1.5M that has to be paid back to the State of Iowa by the county taxpayers residing in 20 plus Iowa counties.
If you’re wondering: Why only three ePollbooks per precincts? The SoS assumes three per precinct based upon Johnson County, which does not need as many ePollbooks per precinct due to 50% of its voters voting early before election day. In the November 2016 election, only 35% of Linn County’s voters voted early; hence, we have more voters at the polls and that’s why I believe we need an average of four (4) ePollbooks per precinct.
If the true cost of the loan fund and some of the other costs associated with this bill would have been included in the bill, it would have been dead on arrival in the House due to the State’s financial condition. Instead, HF516 only includes a measly $50K to educate the State’s 2 million voters. HF516 – the Voter ID bill – is a bad bill and I am opposed to it because in the end, it’s going to increase the taxes paid by Linn County’s taxpayers. – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor