County to purchase voting machines for March primary

Falls County Commissioners voted to engage in a contract to purchase a total of 36 election machines during a meeting Jan. 13.

These machines are needed because the ones that the county owns now are not usable. At the start of renovations to the Falls County Courthouse, the machines were moved from the courthouse to the annex. This was in the middle of summer, when the heat index was hitting its highest. The contained heat melted rubber rollerballs (small parts inside the machine) onto the scanner apparatus, which is the most expensive part to replace or repair. 

Hart InterCivic, a Texas-based full service election solutions innovator, loaned Falls County 11 machines  to use in the meantime, free of charge, while awaiting decision on repairs.

The topic was initially raised at the Commissioner’s Court meeting on Dec. 23, 2019, as to whether to repair the damaged machines or to replace them all together. It was decided to be brought back in front of the commissioners awaiting additional bids.

When re-examining the information, the question rose again. The cost to fixing them is about $900 per machine, totaling around $14,000 for all of them.

“Our machines are going to run out in two or three years,” Falls County Judge Jay Elliot said. “So I was thinking instead of putting the money towards fixing them, why don’t we get some new ones.” 

He said this would be easier on the pocketbook as well as the first payment on these machines is not due until 2021. This means that the payment can be included in the budget and will not affect the budget already in place for the upcoming months. Insurance claims on the old machines will also be allocated to purchasing the new machines.

For the rest of the story pick up the Jan. 15 edition of The Marlin Democrat or Read the E-Edition here

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