County agrees to bigger match for new voting machines

by Kate Shunney

During a special meeting last Wednesday, October 12, the Morgan County Commission voted to boost the local cash match to a grant that will buy 75 new voting machines for the county.

Previously, commissioners agreed to commit $217,037 from county carryover funds to act as a 50% match to the grant, if successful.

Morgan County Clerk Kim Nickles is applying for the grant funds from the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) security sub-grant.

On Wednesday, county officials raised the match amount to $236,657, making the county’s share 54.5% of the total costs of the machine upgrade. That level of match was recommended by the granting body.

Election equipment company ES&S gave Nickles a proposal for 75 ExpressVote machines, vote tabulation equipment and tech upgrades at a cost of $434,074.

Nickles told commissioners that Morgan County’s voting machines were acquired in 2006 but were not new at that time. She believes the machines are from 2002.

The move to replace the current voting machines picked up speed after a ballot tabulation problem from the May primary election was uncovered in September.