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Sault set to buy voting machines loathed by MyPillow Guy

Including the proposed single-sourced electronic technology, total cost of next year's municipal election is expected to be almost a third of a million dollars

City Council will be asked Tuesday to spend as much as $123,950 on vote-counting machines from Dominion Voting Systems, whose technology has been a frequent target of conspiracy theorists and supporters of President Donald J. Trump.

"It is the consensus of a review committee comprised of city staff from city clerk's department and IT [information technology] services that Dominion's proposed tabular voting solution meets the needs for both in-person paper ballot tabulation and vote-by-mail tabulation," says Karen Marlow, the city's manager of purchasing.

"City Council approval of single-sourcing of the supply, installation and support of the proposed tabular voting solution to Dominion Voting Systems is recommended based upon their extensive experience in vote tabulation for elections, and their outline of support services to assist city staff in planning and implementing the system," Marlow says in a report prepared for next week's council meeting, to be held Tuesday because of the Thanksgiving holiday on Monday.

Sault councillors agreed back in June that the 2022 municipal election would use digital tabulators to count in-person voting.

It will be the first local election using anything other than manually counted paper ballots.

Tabulators are used to scan and interpret ballots, which are then cast and stored in a secure ballot box.

Soon after voting has ended, the tabulator device provides a cumulative total of all votes cast.

The city issued a request for proposals for tabulator technology but no appropriate bids were received.

"Dominion Voting Systems subsequently expressed interest in providing a viable solution to the City of Sault Ste. Marie and has submitted a proposal for consideration," Marlow said.

Dominion's technology is widely used by Ontario municipalities, but became fiercely controversial in the United States after last year's presidential race in which President Trump was replaced by Joe Biden.

Prominent entities ranging from Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, Fox News Networks, Newsmax, One America News Network, even MyPillow chief executive officer Mike Lindell, alleged that Dominion's machines were used to steal the vote and fix the election.

Dominion is taking extraordinary steps to defend its name, seeking billions of dollars in damages in defamation lawsuits.

Including the new single-sourced electronic technology, total cost of next year's municipal election in Sault Ste. Marie is expected to be almost a third of a million dollars.

While city staff have determined the Dominion tabulators would also work for counting vote-by-mail ballots, there is so far nothing for that in the budget for next year's municipal election.

Slightly more than 40 per cent of Sault Ste. Marie's eligible voters cast ballots in the 2018 municipal election.

From 1988 to 2014, average provincial turnout has been between 40 and 45 per cent.

The next municipal election will take place on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022.

Tuesday's City Council meeting will be livestreamed on SooToday starting at 4:30 p.m.

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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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