The Harrison County Commission has approved an eleventh-hour purchase of 80 new electronic voting machines. County Clerk Susan Thomas has been waiting patiently since the end of January for Commission to approve the purchase of new AutoMARK voting machines.
Harrison County has been using the iVotronic machines for about five years. The state’s contract with the company that makes them expired in 2010. So Republican and Democratic representatives visited Lewis County earlier this year to see the AutoMARK machines in action; both parties approved of the easy-to-use machine. IVotronic machines are entirely computerized, but the AutoMARK system will fill out a paper ballot for the voter. Supporters of the new system say the iVotronic machines were daunting for some voters and could have impacted voter turnout.
“A number of the population don’t feel that their right to vote is being secured,” said Nathan Drain, representative from the Harrison County Democratic Executive Committee. “Whether it is or not is a moot point – when you don’t feel that you can go to the polling place and have your vote counted – that’s an issue.”
“I’m hoping October for the special general election in October that we would have those,” said Thomas. “I would like to have them then so we don’t have to go through the process for a presidential election.”
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