County to replace voting machines

Jack County Commissioners tabled an item concerning new voting machines during Monday’s meeting.

The item was tabled so the consulting firm of Allison, Bass & McGee, which was also hired during the meeting, can have a chance to look at the contract. Commissioners spoke at length with Felice Liston, a representative with the Hart/InterCity company which is selling the machines. Liston had given a demonstration of the new machines to the court as part of their last meeting two weeks ago.

The old voting machines, which are 11 years old, were paid for out of a grant which no longer exists. Commissioners were interested in knowing how the county was going to pay for the machines and out of what fund. A bid has come in with a $210,000 price tag for replacement.

Liston said financing options can go for anywhere from 3-7 years with financing possibly extended to as long as 10 years. She said once the contracts are signed, which hoped to accomplish by the end of June, Liston said the first payment would not be due for 12 months.

“You could go two elections (November and May) without making a payment,” Liston said. “We offer financing, but we encourage entities to shop their local banks to see if they can do better.”

Precinct 3 Commissioner Henry Birdwell asked when the final payment on the courthouse renovation would be made and was told in the next year or two. He suggested once the final payment there is made, to begin paying off the machines.

Talk of replacing the machines began a month ago when County Clerk Vanessa James told commissioners of the need of new pollpads, which are used to identify voters and what ballots they need. To get the pads and machines to communicate with each other, new machines were determined to be needed.

To read the complete article, see the May 26 edition of the Herald-Gazette.

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