Two months after Secretary of State Ken Detzner visited Marianna to talk about elections equipment headed to 12 small counties, new voting machines arrived at the offices of Jackson County Supervisor of Elections Sylvia Stephens. “We are very excited to have our new equipment delivered so we can prepare and look forward to a successful election year in 2016,” Stephens said. At the Oct. 13 county commission meeting, the board opted to buy the updated equipment, part of a deal negotiated between the small-county consortium, the state and equipment vendor Elections Systems & Software. For the $1.5 million transaction, the roughly $131,000 cost to Jackson County will be reimbursed by grant dollars passed on from the state. Trading in older models helped facilitate a discount on the new machines.
Late last week, Stephens and staff took delivery of the models in Marianna, where an ES&S technician set up the equipment, giving it a readiness check ahead of a busy 2016 election season. This week, training on new gear commenced.
The DS200s, Stephens says, are similar to what voters in county elections have seen at their polling locations since 2001. The ballot-tabulating machines now feature updated software and larger screens, and have room for future expansion.