Roanoke voter precincts will have electronic voting machines for the Jan. 7 special House of Delegates election – but at an unexpected cost of $36,000. The impending recount in the Virginia Attorney General election required all voting machines to be locked down, including those in Roanoke. Though the recount will take place next week, the machines must remain in lock down for a period in case the one of the candidates chooses to contest the integrity of the results after the election. That means the city won’t have its own machines available for the special election for the 11th District House of Delegates seat vacated by Democrat Onzlee Ware, who resigned citing concerns about his mother’s health. Voter Registrar Andrew Cochran had to go in search of 95 machines to borrow or rent for the day, and eventually found them at a North Carolina vendor called Printelect, with which the city has done business before. “They moved at lightning speed, and I appreciate that,” Cochran said.
The machines are the same kind as those the city owns, so election workers won’t have a learning curve to overcome on short notice. They didn’t come cheap, though. The vendor’s fee comes on top of the other costs of the special election, including payroll and rental fees paid to venues that host polling places such as churches.
Cochran, who just took over as registrar last week, was unsure of what the total cost of the election might be.