Merced County is getting a new election management system -- but not before the June 8 elections.
The system, which manages voter registration information, polling place documents and candidate files, was approved by the Board of Supervisors last year.
But they expected that federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 funds would cover the whole cost for the first year.
Now the county learned that money from the secretary of state will cover less than expected.
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The total cost of the project over the next five years is $634,048, with federal funding covering nearly $250,000 of the total cost. The current election management system would have cost the county's general fund $100,000 for the same five-year period.
County Registrar of Voters Karen Adams said she hoped the federal grant funding, which is managed by the California secretary of state, would have come in $121,964 higher. She's still grateful for the money the county will get, she said. "It's just a real great gift of funds," Adams said. "It provides us more efficiency that is going to be realized by the Merced voters."
The costs will be included in the 2010-11 budget. Part of the cost for the new system includes two new temporary election clerks who will work for six months while permanent staffers are trained to operate the new system.
The county needed to buy the new system because its old program couldn't work with the secretary of state's VoteCal system. The county is one of three in California that used the old Elections Systems & Software program. The other two counties, Colusa and San Mateo, also decided to get new systems through DFM Associates.
The new system could be installed in Merced by July 1.
DFM Associates' election management system is used by 34 California counties. The program could save the county money with polling place management programs and better data entry technology that can scan vote rosters and recognize characters. The initial savings could be $12,500, according to a report sent to the county supervisors.
Reporter Danielle E. Gaines can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.