Grayson County moved one step closer to getting its new voting machines Tuesday.
The Grayson County Commissioners had previously given Elections Administrator Deana Patterson permission to submit her pick for the new machines to the Secretary of State’s Office for approval, but Tuesday, they gave her permission to officially enter into the contract with Election Systems and Software, as the Secretary of State has given its approval.
The contract provided to commissioners and available on the county’s website shows the new machines will cost $1,287,234. The county will get $147,100 in trade for its old IVotronic machines, though that does not include $209,490 for maintenance, $120,390 for hardware maintenance, $26,025 for the software license maintenance and support, or $63,075 for the firmware license and maintenance.
Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said the county will be paying the machines over three payments with less than 1 percent interest. The money for the new machines was included in the 2019 budget last summer.
In a previous interview, Patterson said the new system will include express vote ballot marking devices and will allow voters to make their candidate selections in a manner similar to the machines that have recently been in use in Grayson County. The new machines will then print out a paper ballot that will be reviewed by the voter and then placed by the voter in a scanner that will scan in the vote into that polling places’ votes tabulation.
This system is called a hybrid because it uses both a paper ballot and an election marking device. Voters will not walk away with anything that shows the manner in which they vote, though Patterson pointed out that was also the case even when people voted with only paper ballots.
ES&S, she said, will provide training and support for the county as it moves to the new system.
The machines are expected to be delivered in May. Then the Elections Department will work with area voters on education about how to use the new machines.
Jerrie Whiteley is the criminal justice editor for the Herald Democrat. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter @jlwhiteley.