Fayette County’ Clerk Don Blevins Jr. told the Lexington council Tuesday he will request up to $2 million in coming months to replace decade-old voting machines that were partly to blame for long lines at precincts in November. “Our machines stink,” said Blevins, who oversees elections in Fayette County. “It’s time. We need to replace these machines.” Lexington has about 1,000 Hart eSlate machines, which use a wheel that voters turn to highlight their choice on the ballot. Voters then push a button to make the highlighted choice. Most precincts only have a couple machines, which creates long lines when the ballot is lengthy. The machines can be attached to another machine that prints the completed paper ballot, but Lexington does not use those. That means there is no printed record of an individual’s vote.
A higher-than-expected voter turn out also contributed to long wait times on Nov. 6, Blevins told the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council’s General Government and Social Services Committee.
Blevins said he will ask for additional money to purchase new machines for the upcoming budget, which begins July 1. Blevins said it could cost as much as $2.9 million to replace the machines, but he expects that price quote to decline once the project is competitively bid. In addition, $965,000 in federal funds are set aside to help offset the cost, and more federal money might be available, he said.