Hamilton County election officials said the current voting machines are worn out and a new system needs to be in place by the next major election in May 2014. Charlotte Mullis-Morgan, election administrator, said, “We prayed our way through the November and March elections.” She said the new machines may cost in the range of $1 million. She said there are federal funds available to cover the cost. When the election office purchased the current machines in 1998, they were in advance of a number of other election offices on the new-type machines. The cost was covered by county taxpayers. When federal funds later became available to buy voting machines, the county applied for retroactive funds but did not get them.
Ms. Mullis-Morgan said election officials are due to get demonstrations from the two firms whose machines are certified for Tennessee elections – Unison and Dominion.
She said the Unison machines involve touch screens and paper ballots, while Dominion machines are more similar to the current machines utilizing paper ballots fed into the machines.