County hears option for new machines for disabled voters

Published 9:57 pm Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Pike County Commission will consider an offer to replace the county’s aging voting machines for the handicapped.

Pike County Probate Judge Michael Bunn said the Alabama Secretary of State’s office had negotiated a deal with ES&S that would allow the county to replace the existing machines at a considerable cost savings.

Bunn said he looked into replacing the machines a couple of years ago, and the cost would have been about $150,000 to purchase 29 new machines.

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He said the offer through the secretary of state’s office would allow the county to purchase 29 new voting machines for about $72,000.

“The current machines are past their life expectance,” Bunn said. “We would have to purchase new ones at some point anyway.”

Bunn said the current machines are a little smaller than the 3-foot-by-8-foot folding tables that are used at polling places. He said the new machines would be about the size of a suitcase, making them much easier to transport to voting sites.

He said he would like to purchase more than 29 machines, but didn’t think the offer from the secretary of state’s office would extend beyond the number of machines actually needed by the county.

He said the county has 34 precincts, but only 29 polling places. He said some polling locations serve as the polling place for two precincts. He said only having 29 machines would only be an issue if the county split the polling places with two precincts into two different locations.

Bunn said there would also be an annual maintenance contract for the machines that was about $29,000.

He asked the commission to take a look at the purchasing the machines and informed commissioners he had a June 30 deadline if the county wished to take up the offer from the secretary of state’s office.