SPRINGFIELD — The city plans to purchase new election machines and associated equipment and training — an estimated $450,000 investment described as “long overdue” by top administrators.
City Clerk Gladys Oyola-Lopez, who oversees the Election Office, said this week the new election tabulators and ballot boxes will replace equipment that is more than 20 years old.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno praised Oyola-Lopez “for leading the charge in working to assure that our local election operations run smoothly and that our Election staff, poll workers, and residents have the best state of the art technology available.”
The city is seeking to purchase 72 tabulators, which are the machines that count the votes. The tabulators are needed for each of the city’s 64 precincts at poll sites around the city, with the eight additional tabulators to be kept as spares.
The city is also seeking to buy 64 ballot boxes that store the cast ballots, placed under the tabulating machines. In addition, the city is contracting for new election reporting software and hardware, training, and Election Day support, the city said.
The contract will include the “purchase, shipping, delivery, installation and all associated training,” under the city’s advertisement for proposals. The city will also require post-election maintenance and support, the city said.
“The advantages of the new equipment is ease of use for our poll workers and voters,” Oyola-Lopez said. “The new equipment also uses USB memory to safely store voting results. Additionally, it has a large LCD touch screen which is more voter friendly and improves the interactive nature of voting.”
While the old equipment works, city officials said they were concerned about maintenance issues, the potential for breakdowns, and the need for new, state-of-the art voting equipment.
Competing proposals are due by July 28 at 2 p.m. at the Office of Procurement at City Hall. Proposals will be evaluated by a city review committee that includes election staff, and will first rank the technical proposals of each firm, and then consider the price proposals.
Sarno said that voting “is a sacred duty that we will continue to urge all our residents to participate in our much valued tradition of democracy.”
Timothy J. Plante, the city’s chief administrative and financial officer, joined in praising the city’s planned investment in new election equipment.
“This investment in upgrading our election equipment and replacing older voting machines is long overdue,” Plante said. “This is a worthwhile purchase that will keep our Elections Office running efficiently and effective for years to come.”
The next general election is Nov. 2, featuring candidates for all 13 City Council seats and six School Committee seats. There will not be a preliminary election in September.
In 2020, Holyoke approved funds for the purchase of new election tabulators. It was stated that the city’s voting machines were decades old, prone to breakdowns and lacked modern security features.