Wednesday, 10 April 2019 00:11

Elections board approves purchase of new voting machines for Richmond County precincts

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Tom Janyssek from Printelect demonstrates a high-tech voting machine to the Richmond County Board of Elections on Tuesday. Tom Janyssek from Printelect demonstrates a high-tech voting machine to the Richmond County Board of Elections on Tuesday. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond County Board of Elections on Tuesday voted to approve the purchase of new voting machines that are more simple and secure than those currently in use.

The decision to buy 25 DS200 scanner and tabulator devices from Elections Systems and Software came following a presentation by Tom Janyssek, business development manager of the New Bern-based Printelect, which contracts with ES&S.

“It was designed with the poll worker in mind,” Janyssek said, adding that the average age across the nation for poll workers is 67.

He then demonstrated how simple it is to set up and change the tabulation paper.

Richmond County currently uses the M100 machines, which were purchased in 2005 with funds from the Help America Vote Act. Janyssek said that model has been on the market since 1993.

The new machine is more technologically advanced, using an encrypted thumb drive — that can’t be accessed by a computer without the voting software — instead of memory card; and an infrared scanner that can take an image of the ballot, making it easier for double checking write-ins.

In the event of power outage, the machine also has an emergency ballot box and a backup battery.

The estimated total $141,967.50 purchase includes the 25 machines, 25 tote bins — which have locks, wheels and a handle to make transporting ballots from the precincts to the Elections office easier and secure — 10 additional 4GB flash drives, training, on-site support on Election Day, and a warranty.

To cut down on the cost, the board is trading in its current machines, which are still being used in some areas.

Kelly said the money for the upgrade has been budgeted for the past several budget cycles.

POLL WORKER TRAINING

During her update following the demonstration, Kelly informed the board that several training sessions for poll workers have been scheduled for later this month at the Richmond County Airport.

The sessions are split between two weeks for instructions and procedures and computer training.

For instructions and procedures: Rockingham No. 1, Beaver Dam No. 1 and No. 2 will meet at 10 a.m. April 16 and Rockingham No. 2 and Wolf Pit No. 4 will meet at 3 p.m.; Wolf Pit No. 3, Steeles No. 1 and No. 2 will meet at 10 a.m. April 17 and Marks Creek No. 2, Mineral Springs No. 2 and Wolf Pit No. 2 will meet at 4 p.m.; Rockingham No. 3, Wolf Pit No. 1, Mineral Springs No. 1 and Marks Creek No. 1 will meet at 4 p.m. April 18.

For computer training: Rockingham No. 1, Beaver Dam No. 1 and Beaver Dam No. 2 will meet at 2 p.m. April 23; Rockingham No. 2 and Wolf Pit No. 4 will meet at 10 a.m. April 24; Wolf Pit No. 2, Wolf Pit No. 3, Steeles No. 1 and Steeles No. 2 will meet at 4 p.m. April 25; Marks Creek No. 2 and Mineral Springs No. 2 will meet at 10 a.m. April 29 and Rockingham No. 3, Wolf Pit No. 1, Mineral Springs No. 1 and Marks Creek No. 1 will meet at 4 p.m.

PRECINCT APPOINTMENTS

Kelly also presented a list of several names for appointments as precinct judges, noting that several Republican spots had to be filled from outside the precinct:

  • Joan Gibson was appointed as Democratic judge for Rockingham No. 2
  • Debbie Reese was appointed as a Republican judge for Wolf Pit No. 1
  • Nancy Barber (out of precinct) was appointed as a Republican chief judge for Wolf Pit No. 2
  • Brent Foster (out of precinct) was appointed as a Republican judge for Marks Creek No. 2
  • Brenda Bacuom, Republican, and Marcella Townsend, Democrat, (both out of precinct) were appointed as judges for Black Jack No. 1 

Bridget Snead, Democrat, was appointed as chief judge and Marvin Powell was appointed as a Republican judge for Mineral Springs No. 2

SECURITY CHECK

The elections office was recently visited by a representative from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Kelly said the agent spent four hours evaluating the office’s security protocols and procedures.

He noted that the trash can out front posed a security risk and commented that he was surprised the elections office shared a building with the probation and parole office, Kelly said.

DATES TO REMEMBER

Absentee ballots are available now and the last day to request a ballot by mail is Tuesday, May 7.

For those interested in running in the 2020 election, April 19 is the deadline to switch political parties.

The Republican primary for the 9th Congressional District will be May 14. 

The race between the Republican candidate, Democrat Dan McCready, Libertarian Jeff Scott and Green Party candidate Allen Smith will be Sept. 10. However, if the top vote-getter fails to garner 30 percent of the votes between the 10 candidates, a second primary will be held that day and the contest will be held along with the Nov. 5 General Election.

Anyone with questions about registration, polling places, early voting, absentee ballots, or other election matters is encouraged to call the Richmond County Board of Elections Office at 910-997-8253.

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 10 April 2019 00:26