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Vrakas Seeks Funds to Study, Upgrade Elections Equipment

Capital funding would "increase efficiency, accuracy and timeliness of vote reporting," Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas says.

Waukesha County should budget funds next year to study and potentially upgrade its election equipment, Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas said Tuesday.

Vrakas included $70,000 in the capital budget he plans to introduce Friday, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report.

Vrakas said in a press release that he wants to study ways to better automate election results and avoid manual counting by municipalities.

"Waukesha County is a rapidly growing County and in recent years the number of reporting units in the County has increased," Vrakas said.

"This, coupled with the collecting, tallying and reporting vote totals, have made the process cumbersome. The goal is to automate and streamline the system as much as possible to prevent human error."

The $70,000 on investigating and solving .

Problems with a software upgrade prompted the county to have to hand-count results, which delayed reporting of results for as much as 10 hours after the polls closed. Reporters and campaign representatives hand-tallied results printed out on sheets taped around the walls.

That problem came a year after Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus' office in its election night tallies, which — when added two days later — flipped the winner of the hotly contested state Supreme Court race.

In his request for capital funding, Vrakas said he wants to address county elections system "shortcomings and inefficiencies" identified in a recent report by consultant SysLogic.

"The current system is highly complex and requires information to be manually keyed-in requiring significant review before publication of unofficial results," Vrakas said. "New election equipment will automate the process which, in turn, will increase efficiency, accuracy and timeliness of vote reporting."

Nickolaus is not running for re-election on the November ballot.

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