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Out with the old, in with the new: decisions are being made about new voting machines for Shelby County

Of course, by now, you know Tuesday is Super Tuesday – a big election day.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Of course, by now, you know Tuesday is SuperTuesday – a big election day.

And you’re going to be using the same old voting machines we’veused for the last 10 or 15 years or so. But changes are a coming.

At the Shelby County Elections Warehouse, the Diebold votingmachines are lined up, as if ready to be shot at sunrise.

That’s what some folks think should happen to them.

During a news conference last fall, former Memphis StateRepresentative Mike Kernell said, “These machines are very old. They(Shelby County Election Commissioners) admit it – they’re old. All over thecountry these machines aren’t working well.”

Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner was once the head of thelocal Democratic Party, and heard complaint after complaint about them.

Kick out the old, bring in the new, he says.

“You really lose faith in the process and thefranchise,” Turner says. “Here we have a situation where we can getrid of those Diebold machines, and put in a system where voters can haveconfidence in our election process.”

To get to this point, commissioners had to do some fast shufflingof funds – about $2 million worth – to free up the money needed. Now it’sdecision time.

A couple of years ago, Linda Phillips saw some of the latestvoting machine equipment. She’s not just window shopping anymore.

“We are proceeding full speed ahead,” she says. “Wehave responses, six responses from vendors. Their machines are being evaluatednow, and then, hopefully in early March, the Election Commission will make adecision.”

The Election Commission will decide whether to buy new touchscreen voting machines, or to go with paper ballots.

They want everything to be ready for the November Presidentialelection.

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