County voting undergoes Evolution

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Supervisor of Elections gets new machines

By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

When voters go to the polls this year they will be using new machines, the ImageCast Evolution 2, that will allow them to mark and scan their ballots all in one place. 

On Tuesday, the Levy County Commission agreed to Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones' recommendation that she obtain new voting equipment under a lease purchase agreement that would finance the equipment, software and maintenance. And the deal offers one added advantage: since the change in voting equipment has been mandated by the state, if the state decides at some point to help counties finance the change Levy could be reimbursed for some of the cost. 

“I think you all made a great decision, Jones said after the unanimous vote approving the contract with Dominion Voting Systems, Inc. of Denver, Colo. The firm was the only one to respond to Jones' request for proposals last year and currently services the county's 12-year-old equipment. 

Under the deal the county will pay $137,612.50 this year and $37,088.62 in the next seven years for the ImageCaster Evolution machines and software. 

Had the county decided to go with an outright purchase, the new equipment and software would have cost $275,225 with an eight-year maintenance and upgrade contract that would bring the total to $435,455. 

Jones told the commission last year that the voting machines needed to be replaced as they were based on obsolete equipment making parts difficult to obtain when there were breakdowns. She said the state originally mandated that new machines be in place by 2016, but that deadline has been pushed back. Jones said she wants the machines to be used in the smaller 2014 elections for county commission and municipalities before using them in the more heavily voted presidential year elections in 2016.  

The motion to approve the purchase was made by County Commissioner Danny Stevens of Williston (R-District 5) and seconded by Commissioner Michael Joyner of Morriston (R-District 3). The vote was 4-0 with Commissioner John Meeks absent due to an out of town trip. 

Jones has planned an open house and demonstration of the new voting machines at her office on  Tuesday, May 13, starting at 10 a.m.