Lowndes County supervisors plan to seek bids to buy new voting machine system that scans paper ballots. Supervisors on Monday approved a request by county purchasing clerk Terry Thompson to solicit bids, The Commercial Dispatch newspaper reported. The equipment would replace a TSX electronic voting system that has been used since 2005 to process votes digitally. Mississippi received federal funding in 2005 for TSX systems as well as maintenance and technical support. County circuit clerk Haley Salazar said in September that money for support and upkeep will not be provided after this year and that going back to paper ballots would be more efficient for voters, poll workers and election commissioners.
If the county buys the scanner equipment, poll workers would be able to scan absentee ballots themselves. Any ballot that would not properly run through the scanner would be packaged up and returned to the courthouse for the election board to evaluate.
Salazar estimated each scanner would cost up to $6,000 and that she hopes to buy 25 for the county’s 22 precincts.
Budgeted funds plus saved past election appropriations would be pooled to purchase the new equipment, she said.