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North Dakota House votes down funding for new election equipment

North Dakota Capitol in Bismarck. Forum photo by Darren Gibbins

BISMARCK—The North Dakota House shot down two bills to update election equipment Tuesday, Jan. 24.

House Bill 1123, which would have appropriated $9 million from the general fund to replace equipment such as ballot scanners across the state, failed on a 12-78 vote. Immediately afterward, House Bill 1122, which would have spent $3 million for electronic poll books across the state, failed on a 17-72 vote.

Rep. Roscoe Streyle, R-Minot, said the House Appropriations Committee didn't dispute the merit of buying new election equipment, but he pointed to tight budgets in their decision to give a "do-not-pass" recommendation to both pieces of legislation.

"Like a lot of things this session, we're going to have to prioritize," he said.

County election officials have told legislators their equipment is starting to show its age. A representative of the North Dakota Association of Counties said the system may be "unworkable" by 2020.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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