Lawrence County government officials plan to buy new voting machines before the 2019 elections season. That will give the county some assurance that the system works before the next presidential election in 2020. But the price tag that comes with mandated machines with a paper trail is one that the taxpayers locally may have to eat, unless the state and federal governments come through with funding to back up their mandate. Ed Allison, county director of elections and voting, estimated that the cost for Lawrence County to meet the mandates with a new voting system could range between $750,000 to $1.5 million. Statewide, the cost is expected to be about $150 million for all 67 counties to comply, he said.
All counties will have to buy new systems, even if they already have a system with a paper trail, if their system wasn’t certified after Jan. 1 of this year. Lawrence County’s existing system does not have a paper trail of the votes cast.
“The county taxpayers will have to pay,” Allison said. “The legislature and the governor’s office are not proposing any type of appropriation to assist in the cost at this time.”