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Gates purchases new voting equipment

GATESVILLE – Gates County is purchasing new election equipment.

The Gates County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution here Monday to buy new equipment from the company Election System and Software, Inc.

“There will be a demonstration of the new equipment on Tuesday night from 5 n 7 p.m. at the Gates County Extension Center,” Board of Elections member James Sears said. “The equipment is very similar to what we have now.”

The estimated cost of the new equipment is $100,705 and the new equipment will include optical scan machines. Gates County will receive at least $91,945 from the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) Election Fund to help pay for the new equipment. The HAVA Election Fund was created to provide funds to states to improve voting equipment.

“We budgeted enough money to cover any extra costs for the new equipment,” Gates County manager Mark Biberdorf said.

North Carolina is replacing the automated voting equipment used in all 100 counties. Following the 2004 elections, the General Assembly ordered that the old machines, ranging from punch-card mechanisms to older computerized touch-screen machines, be replaced. The General Assembly passed legislation in response to the 2004 election, where 4,400 votes were lost by electronic voting machines in Carteret County.

January 20 is the deadline for the counties to purchase new election equipment.

Election System and Software, Inc. is the world’s largest provider of election equipment and has installed over 74,000 systems worldwide.