Hertford County replaces old voting equipment

Published 3:46 pm Friday, April 30, 2021

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WINTON – Out with the old….in with the new.

Hertford County voters will cast ballots in the next election on more modern equipment after county leaders decided here recently to replace older model tabulators.

Hertford County Elections Director Shelia Privott said the county received $51,800 last year from HAVA (Help Americans Vote Act). That money was part of $425 million distributed nationally through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020.

Privott said the funds could be used to replace voting systems and technology.

“Our [Elections] board met and decided they would like to purchase new voting equipment,” Privott told the county commissioners at their April 19 meeting. “Our [voting] machines are on the downside so now would be a great time to use this $51,800 to help purchase new and more modern equipment.”

She added that the HAVA funds will serve as a “down payment.” The total cost of the new equipment is $105,392.50.

That money needs to be appropriated in the county’s upcoming 2021-22 fiscal year budget.

“I would recommend approval of Mrs. Privott’s request,” County Manager David Cotton informed the commissioners.

Commissioner Andre Lassiter asked Privott about the quality of the DS200, the model that she is seeking to purchase.

“This is an upgrade for us,” Privott remarked. “The ones that we currently use were purchased in 2000.”

She explained there would be no change in the way the ballots are counted with the new equipment; just newer technology.

“It’s still a paper ballot that’s fed into a tabulator,” Privott noted. “As far as the voter is concerned, they will not see a big difference in those [tabulators]. The difference is how we record the votes when the polls close.

“The DS200 is safe and secure,” Privott added.

Lassiter inquired if any surrounding counties currently use the DS200 voting equipment. Privott said yes, and named off Gates, Bertie, and Northampton.

Officials with Election Systems & Software – who proposed the purchase price of $105,392.50 – came to Winton on April 28 to perform a “mock election” in an effort to demonstrate the new equipment.

The commissioners approved the purchase without objection.