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Carbon machines may not be ready for primary

Published December 01. 2018 07:44AM

Carbon County may not have new election equipment in place by next year’s primary election, officials said Thursday.

Commissioners’ Chairman Wayne Nothstein said that counties are running into the issue with the state not having more voting machines certified and in the CoStar purchasing program, as well as a turnaround time for the equipment being longer than expected.

“They want us to have it in place by Election Day, but the problem is if we go out to bid now, do we have the expertise to draw up the specs?” Nothstein asked. “Do we have time for the bid process?”

He said that the anticipated turnaround for equipment is 16 weeks from a purchase date and then additional time to train everyone on the equipment.

“Unless things change by the end of December, I don’t think we’ll have those machines by the primary,” Nothstein said.

Right now, the commissioners are looking at all their options with the machines.

“We want to see what is best for the voters and what is easiest for the voters and poll workers,” Nothstein said.

The state is requiring all counties to update their electronic voting machines by next year, but are only supplying $71,394.86 to help cover the purchase of Carbon’s new machines.

Carbon County must replace 125 electronic voting machines with ones that have a paper trail, but the exact model hasn’t been chosen.

Earlier this month, the election board, comprised of the commissioners and election director, Lisa Dart, said that one option is going back to a paper ballot, filling in the bubbles and then scanning it through a machine.

At the end of the night, the elections office would have an electronic version of the votes through the scanning machine, as well as a paper backup in case a recount is needed.

Carbon County has earmarked $1.2 million for the voting machine replacement project, but a final figure is looking as if it may be lower than anticipated.

 

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