Floyd County Clerk Christy Eurton made a formal request Tuesday night for 86 more voting machines, along with accompanying scanners and e-poll books totaling $410,000. She will have to wait another month for an answer. The Floyd County Council unanimously voted to table her request until the Feb. 10 meeting. In the next 26 days, councilmen Jim Wathen, John Schellenberger and Brad Striegel will meet with Eurton and the other two members of the election board, Rick Fox and William Lohmeyer, to look at data and further discuss the issue. That committee will report back to the full council next month with a recommendation. The county currently has 70 voting machines, which the election board said is not nearly enough. Eurton said she is on a tight time frame, since the 2015 municipal election primary will be held May 5 and will now include the entire county following the New Albany-Floyd County School Board’s decision Monday to place an $80 million referendum on the ballot. “More machines will only fix part of the problem,” Striegel said after Eurton’s presentation. “I want to see more data.”
The election board has been working since November to find solutions for the voting problems experienced in the general election in November that forced some residents to stand in line two hours to vote. Machines used for early voting also failed to start on Election Day.
Fox came up with the data of what is needed equipment wise by looking at voting numbers from the 2012 presidential election where 64 percent of registered voters in Floyd County voted. The election board expects that many, if not more, to vote in the next presidential election in 2016, he told the Floyd County Commissioners last week.
Besides the 86 machines, the board also said voting sites will need to be expanded from 11 to 23 in order to handle the crowds. Officials hope more residents take advantage of early voting, but that is not a guarantee. Some council members asked if electronic and paper ballots could both be used, but Eurton said buying paper and high speed printers would be just as costly.