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Bergen cranks up AC for e-voting machines

By Allegra Dengler  Posted by Allegra Dengler (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     (# of views)   No comments
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Here is yet another concern about electronic voting machines-electricity bills for monthly battery charges! That's on top of the extra costs associated with air-conditioning.

Bergen Co. NJ has reported that their Sequoia DRE voting machines required $44,000 worth of electricity for their monthly battery charge last year. The county is now spending $42,000 to install air conditioning in the warehouse where their 1,200 machines are stored.

None of these costs are reimbursed by the state.

Allegra Dengler

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Bergen cranks up AC for e-voting machines

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

By OSHRAT CARMIEL
STAFF WRITER
CARMINE GALASSO / THE RECORD

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Last year, Bergen County’s electronic voting machines generated a $44,000 electric bill. The devices need to be charged monthly, for 24 hours at a time, according to a county spokesman. The cost to maintain the machines just increased, with freeholders approving a $42,000 air conditioning system.

The modern New Jersey voting machine is tricked out like a luxury sedan: It can read to you, speak 12 languages and, eventually, will commit your thoughts to paper.

And like a top-shelf ride, your voting machine has needs -- such as air conditioning.

Last year, Bergen County’s electronic voting machines generated a $44,000 electric bill. The devices need to be charged monthly, for 24 hours at a time, according to a county spokesman. The cost to maintain the machines just increased, with freeholders approving a $42,000 air conditioning system.


Bergen County is one of several counties statewide that are paying big bills to cool its voting machines, heeding manufacturer's instructions that electronic tools of democracy are best kept chilled.

"Machines don't like humidity," said David Wald, a spokesman for the state Attorney General's Office, which oversees New Jersey's compliance with the Help America Vote Act.

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The county has used electronic machines since 1995, about seven years before the federal government mandated them as replacements for mechanical-lever and punch-card ballots. But as e-machines evolve, gaining an audio system and, by next year, a printer to produce a paper trail of votes, the cost of maintaining them also increases.

That part isn't covered by the state.

Bergen County's 1,200 Sequoia voting machines ran up a $44,000 electric bill in the last year, the result of their need to be charged monthly, for 24 hours at a time, according to county spokesman Brian Hague.

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Allegra Dengler is a voting activist in New York State.

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