Wyoming is about halfway there. In an omnibus appropriations bill passed by the U.S. Congress this spring, legislators designated $380 million in elections security grants to the states, and Wyoming will be getting a $3 million chunk of those funds. The grants require a 5 percent match from states, working out to $150,000 from Wyoming. A formula breaking down distribution by county has yet to be hashed out, but will likely factor in population and individual county needs. The funds will be provided through the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which last disbursed payments for upgrades nationally in 2010. The last time Wyoming saw any of that money was in 2005, however, when the current generation of machines were bought for the 2006 elections.
Park County Commissioner Jake Fulkerson, a member of the statewide Plan for Aging Voting Equipment task force, said those federal dollars, along with $500,000 allocated by the state legislature this year, will go nearly halfway toward covering the $8-10 million needed for new voting machines.
“It’s kind of a moving target” Fulkerson said of the total price tag. “You don’t just flip a switch with the hardware and the software and lining the vendors up.”