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PCFC approves purchase of additional voting equipment; Taylor says that will mean six more “voting centers” on November 8 | New

With just over two months to go until the Nov. 8 general election, the issue of purchasing additional voting machines was addressed by the Pike County Tax Court at its Aug. 24 meeting.

During the meeting, Pike County Clerk Rhonda Taylor and members of the Pike County Board of Elections informed the court that six additional voting centers could be opened if the court approved the purchase of machines and additional voting equipment.

“It’s a matter that came up in court a few weeks ago,” executive judge Ray Jones of Pike said. “About trying to open additional voting centers and there were cost issues that we discussed.”

Taylor informed the court that his office had added six additional polling stations for the general election.

“These locations will be voting centers if you approve the purchase of the equipment to store them,” Taylor said. “Locations will be at Hurricane, Lower Johns Creek, Henry Clay, Blackberry Hog Trial Cabin, Blackberry Community Center and Lower Big Creek.”

Taylor said that would bring the number of polling places to 23 in the county on Election Day, not including early voting, in-person and absentee voting.

Jones asked Taylor about the cost of additional equipment and equipment maintenance.

“$249,954 is the price to add extra gear,” Taylor said. “The first two years, there are no maintenance costs, then from the third to the eighth year. it’s $32,749 per year.

Jones pointed out that the maintenance fee would be around $196,000 for the deal.

“Is there some sort of grant we can get to cover or cover some of the cost of this?” Jones asked Taylor.

“There are,” Taylor said. “There’s $25 million that will be available in two sweeps, $12.5 million in each sweep, and Pike County is eligible for reimbursement funding, but the exact amount the state doesn’t know yet. .”

The county received a refund of federal money for the initial purchase of voting machines earlier this year.

Taylor attempted to clarify a question regarding the county’s 57 precincts.

“We originally requested enough equipment to stock voting machines in all 57 precincts, but weren’t granted funding for this, it was turned down,” Taylor said. “Some people think all 57 constituencies should be open because we asked for 57 places to have voting machines but we don’t have it so maybe that will explain why we don’t have 57 physical places. real. .”

Taylor said the 23 voting centers are located throughout the county and people can vote at any center, not just the one closest to their home, as was the case in the last election.

“There’s something I want to clear up,” Jones said. “I don’t recall a request from the Board of Elections to open all 57 constituencies, just a quoted amount which was very expensive.

“Additionally, there was some concern about having enough election workers to set up 57 pitches,” Jones said.

“I object to this because I don’t want people to say that the tax court is the reason all 57 polling stations in the constituency are not open.”

Taylor said that with the six additional polling centers, that would add up to 105 additional pieces of equipment.

Commissioner Jason Tackett offered to purchase the additional voting machines and approve the amended maintenance agreement which raised from the original more than $16,000 to $32,749 which will cover purchased equipment previously and additional equipment. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Ronnie Robinson.

The motion passed unanimously, with Jones expressing some reservations about the purchase.