Colbert County commissioners must decide if they will pay the price for maintaining Americans With Disabilities Act voting machines, or face a potential lawsuit if they are not available for handicapped voters. Probate Judge Daniel Rosser told commissioners in November the county’s maintenance contract on the 36 Automark ADA compliant machines had to be renewed. He said the contract with an outside vendor would cost $5,785 this year, and $7,714 the following year. Commissioners have delayed acting on the contract. During their Feb. 7 meeting, Rosser said they were trying to determine if the Association of County Commissions of Alabama’s self-insurance pool would cover the county if it is sued if the machines are not available. “You can’t answer coverage questions when you don’t know what a lawsuit says,” ACCA Executive Director Sonny Brasfield said Wednesday. “We get those calls all the time.”
Brasfield said Alabama purchased the machines with money provided through the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, which required states to upgrade their voting procedures following the 2000 election. Brasfield said Alabama became one of the few states that used the same equipment in every polling place in the state.
The ADA compliant Automark machines were bought with HAVA money, some of which was provided to counties. For several election cycles, HAVA money was used to maintain the machines, Brasfield said. When the state’s HAVA money ran out, maintenance of the machines became the responsibility of the counties.
Brasfield said some counties have HAVA money remaining while others do not.
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