One fun reason not to join Yavapai County’s Permanent Early Voting List is to check out the latest high-tech voting machines. The Yavapai County Recorder’s Office and its Elections Department have brand new touch-screen voting machines that talk to users and let them know if they voted for too many or too few candidates. While that’s the most visible of the new voting equipment, the county also has new ballot scanning machines. They count ballots so fast that poll workers at vote centers will no longer scan and modem results to the main Prescott office from various voting centers around the county. Instead, vote center workers will drive to Prescott with the ballots so they can be scanned and counted on the new high-speed machines. Noting that three-fourths of voters now vote early anyway, Recorder Leslie Hoffman and Elections Director Lynn Constabile think ballot counting will get done about the same time as it has in the past, since they are restricted on when they can start. “I have a feeling it’s going to be the same amount of time,” Constabile said.
It’s not easy to keep up with technology these days, but Yavapai County elections officials are trying.
They switched from purchasing elections equipment to leasing it so they can quickly move to the next technological improvement, spread out costs and avoid maintenance costs. And some of the equipment got so old they couldn’t get new parts.
They signed a four-year lease with a cost of $130,000 annually, and an expert from the Unisyn Voting Solutions elections equipment company will be on hand on election nights to help with any glitches. Sales bids on the equipment ranged from about $600,000 to $1.3 million.