Voters in Polk County, Florida, will be using 16-year-old machines on Election Day this November, and they are either nearing or have already surpassed their average lifespan. The region, which encompasses parts of the greater Tampa Bay area, is one of many jurisdictions in more than a dozen states that are using voting machines that are 15 or more years old in this year’s election cycle, a report from the Brennan Center for Justice revealed last September. Two years ago, ahead of the 2014 midterm elections, a 10-member commission President Obama formed to figure out how to prevent long lines at the polls after the 2012 presidential election warned that the state of voting technology was an “impending crisis.” Lawrence Norden, a co-author of the Brennan Center report, told CBS News that while a lot of jurisdictions have bought new equipment or have developed plans to do so, there are still a number of places that are dealing with even older machines. An overwhelming majority of the country — 43 states — will be using electronic voting machines that are at least 10 years old in this year’s election, the Brennan Center report said. These machines last around 10 to 20 years before conking out. Many election officials, the report said, want to replace their aging equipment in the next five years, but a lot of them do not yet know where they’ll find the money.
Much of the old equipment still in use was purchased with $3.9 billion in federal funding Congress approved in the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, which was was spawned by the 2000 presidential election debacle in Florida involving punch cards. That was the last time the federal government stepped in to help states buy new equipment. It doesn’t look like Capitol Hill lawmakers are coming to the rescue anytime soon.
“There’s a teeny bit left,” said Lori Edwards, supervisor of elections in Polk County, about remaining HAVA funding. “You could probably buy two or three units or something…but not enough that could make a dent in any new [major] purchase.”
Edwards said replacing the county’s 16-year-old machines, which she described as still reliable, would cost taxpayers more than $2 million. She said she plans to soon make the request to the local government board and county commission.
Full Article: Will your voting machine work on Election Day? – CBS News.