Replacing the county’s voting machines to comply with a new state mandate could cost more than $6.5 million. “It’s going to be pricey,” Guilford County Elections Director Charlie Collicutt told the Board of Commissioners at its annual retreat Friday in Colfax. “There is no outside funding from the state, or any other body.” Guilford County residents currently cast their ballots via touch-screen voting machines, which tabulate votes electronically but spit out paper rolls that officials can use to audit election results. Under the mandate, passed by the N.C. General Assembly in 2013, touch-screen machines are still allowed. But votes have to be counted using paper ballots. “What’s tabulated has to be on paper,” Collicutt says. “So our machines will be illegal.”
The county has about 1,400 voting machines. When those machines were purchased in 2006, federal grant money funded half of the purchase price. That won’t be an option in 2018.
The county’s capital improvement plan puts the replacement cost at about $6.76 million, though that total could change depending on vendor options.