Discussions begin on what kind of voting machines you will be using for the next 20 years

Local Elections

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – We are in the beginning of discussions on something that could be incredibly important – especially with next year being a Presidential Election year.

Shelby County elections are never easy. Either there are complaints about the machines, or the results, or the dreaded stylus.

Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner is a lawyer, and he’s made a few bucks off election day lawsuits.

“It seems every county election,” Turner said, “…. at least in recent times, we’ve had issues in courts.”

It is all of this history that has resulted in people wanting to know about the new voting machines that will be coming. The Election Commission hasn’t bought them yet, but according to state law, they are the ones who will decide on the type of machine.

So get ready to hear about the marked paper ballot.

According to Shelby County Election Administrator Linda Phillips, “A voter machine paper ballot is similar to a test you took in high school or college, where you fill in the bubble by the candidate you selected. Then its inserted into a scanner.”

The other type is called a ballot marking device. According to Phillips, “The voter makes their decision on a touch screen. And then a piece of paper spits out and it is scanned.”

Phillips says none of these machines are 100% safe.

The new voter marked paper ballots sound trouble free, but all that paper has to be stored somewhere.

“The problem is the operating costs go up dramatically,” Phillips says. “It would cost you over the 14-year expected life of the equipment $14.6-million more for operating costs.”

Commissioner Reginald Milton says he likes the voter marked paper ballot plan, no matter how much it might cost.

“The greatest cost factor” Milton said, “… is the trust of the public that the voting process is fair.”

 County Commissioners will hear a big presentation on what is available, and what problems there are with certain machines, next week.

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