The Forsyth County elections office wants to buy new elections equipment this year, but the county commissioners will have to decide whether to fund the request. Steve Hines, director of elections for Forsyth County, said his office is asking to replace all of its voting equipment – including the optical scanners that record paper ballots at precincts and the larger tabulator used at the elections office. Hines said his office is still in talks with the vendor for Election Systems & Software equipment, but has a rough cost estimate of about $1.4 million. Hines said he hates to ask for that much. “But I’d hate to go through what we went through this past year on a presidential scale,” Hines said. The elections office dealt with a number of hiccups in the general election last November, including breakdowns of vote-counting machines at precincts and the elections office. The equipment is about a decade old. … The county uses paper ballots on Election Day, but it uses iVotronic touch-screen machines for early voting and Election Day handicap-accessible voting. The county will no longer be able to use those machines as of 2018 because they don’t print a ballot.
Hines said the elections office wants to purchase about 130 DS200 scanners to replace the M100 ballot scanners used at the county’s 101 precincts, and about 130 ExpressVote machines, which combine touch-screen technology and paper-based voting, to replace the iVotronic machines.
The request also includes two DS850 high-speed scanners and tabulators to replace the county’s current vote-tabulating machine. The elections office had problems with its machine when staff tried to process absentee ballots the night before the general election. Hines said they had to run some ballots through the machine three or four times to get it to properly read them. Tatum said Forsyth County purchased about $1.7 million in elections equipment in fiscal year 2005-06 using federal Help America Vote Act dollars, which were funneled through the state.