Taylor County to acquire touch-screen voting machines

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ABILENE, Texas (KRBC)-As more people become accustomed to touch-screen technology, Taylor County is getting on board, taking its first steps to acquire touch-screen voting machines.

 These machines will cost about $2.1 million. The county plans to issue tax anticipation notes which will be paid off over a seven-year period through future tax revenue. The court approved an engagement letter Tuesday morning July 9th to seek bids from banks. Commissioners will then review these bids at its next meeting on July 23rd.

Judge Downing Bolls said after 17 years of wear-and-tear, the dial selection machines are beginning to cost Taylor County a pretty penny.

“It costs about $600 per machine any time a machine breaks,” said Bolls. “The life expectancy on them is ten years, so we’ve really gotten a lot of mileage of these machines. They’re really good, but we’re losing a number of machines every election we have, because they’re just breaking down. “

With the replacement system, logistics should run smoother for the Elections Office said administrator Freda Ragan.

“We’ll have more storage space, obviously because they’re going to be a little bit smaller footprint than what these machines are,” Ragan said.

Ragan said her team is excited for the change.

“We have a lot of voters–when they walk up to the booth they start touching the screen, and we have to say, ‘It’s not a touch screen,’” said Ragan.

Some people have expressed concerns of security with the new touch-screen technology, but Bolls said both the old and new systems are considered safe for voters.

“One of the things they talked about was Internet safety,” said Bolls. “Well, this system is

a closed system. It doesn’t use the Internet. It’s all closed, and so it’s completely protected. [The] State of Texas has given its blessings to these machines.”

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