The next time we head to the polls, there is a good chance we will cast our ballots on new voting machines. Some of Nevada’s machines have been in use since 2004, spanning more than a dozen elections. “Their expected life-span was about ten years when we got them and we’re already well past that,” Luanne Cutler, Washoe County Registrar of Voters said. There are 6,894 voting machines throughout Nevada’s 17 counties. If the legislature approves funding, the cost could be up to $25,000. “Dominion Voting Systems” and “Elections Systems & Software” are the two companies that the Secretary of State’s Office could buy the new machines from. “The accuracy is very, very important but also the new technology,” Barbara Cegavske, Nevada Secretary of State said. “We’re looking at all of those aspects, all of the new bells and whistles.”
Cutler says Washoe County will try to buy the new machines if the state does not. The goal would be to have the machines by the end of the year, allowing poll workers about six months to learn how to operate the system before the primary election in June, 2018. It would cost the county $3-5 million to replace its 1,327 machines. Dominion Voting Machines makes our current machines, and Cutler wants to stick with that company for their new models.
“We’re looking for equipment that would still be somewhat familiar to our voters but that would be more updated and easier to use,” Cutler said.
The machines would still have the hard drive, as well as back-up records including paper and scanned ballots, and thumb drives. “I think that the one thing we heard, overall, not only from all the Nevadans but from the clerks, as well, what they’ve heard from the public is that we have to have that paper trail,” Cegavske said.