Ohio's secretary of state has reached an agreement with a voting machine company, two years after she sued over machine malfunctions that led to dropped votes.
Jennifer Brunner said Wednesday that the settlement with Premier Election Solutions Inc. could mean one-time payments and free licensing and equipment for election boards in 47 counties that use Premier equipment.
Counties have 75 days to choose to take part in the agreement. Two counties, Cuyahoga and Montgomery, already had settled with the company.
Premier, now owned by Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software, had sued Cuyahoga for breach of contract after the Cleveland-seated county dropped Premier systems over malfunctions. Brunner filed a countersuit in 2008 after Premier acknowledged that its machines had dropped votes in that year's presidential primary and in previous elections.
Election officials in Ohio had discovered the dropped votes within hours and added them to the overall totals.
The one-time payments could total more than $470,000 if all 47 counties agree to the settlement, according to Brunner's office. County election boards can negotiate with other certified voting machine vendors in Ohio, even if they accept the payment.
They'll also get up to $2.4 million in software licenses for two years if each county opts to use Premier voting machines, along with discounts on maintenance fees and optical scan voting machines if elections boards choose to switch from electronic touch screen systems.
Brunner said the settlement secures licensing and maintenance for voting equipment and gives elections boards choices that will ultimately benefit voters.
Election Systems & Software did not return a message seeking comment on Wednesday.