Voting being the essential democratic function that it is, the Glynn County Board of Elections is charged with keeping the county’s voting machines running and in good condition. That task has become more difficult this year. The board voted Tuesday to buy five used voting machines from San Diego County, Calif., to use as backups. The machines board members chose to buy have only been used once and can be had at a savings. However, they did not have the option to buy new machines. No county in Georgia does. Glynn County Board of Elections Supervisor Tina Edwards said the board was prompted to buy the machines because the newer models are no longer being sold by the manufacturer, Electronic Systems and Software. San Diego County is the only source of the machines that she is aware of at the moment. The company has no plans to stock more in the near future, leaving Georgia counties with no choice but to buy machines secondhand or from third parties, Edwards said.
“They don’t manufacture the (TS-R6s) anymore and they don’t have an inventory of the TSx, which will complicate any new purchase,” said Edwards, who only discovered last month that the manufacturer no longer produces the voting machines. “They pretty much dominate the market. They’re the sole source for the machines.”
Edwards said she hasn’t seen a situation like this since she started working for the board in 2005.
“When you’re using something as important as voting equipment, and it’s required that we use touch-screen voting machines, and the fact that the vendor isn’t inventorying that equipment, that is concerning,” Edwards said. “Hopefully, the existing (Georgia) secretary of state or a new one will address it. It is unusual. We’ve never had an issue where I cannot approach ES&S for new equipment.”