Don Culpepper Reports On New Electronic Voting Machines - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

07/15/05

Don Culpepper Reports On New Electronic Voting Machines

Secretary of State Eric Clark believes that these new touch screen voting machines will pay off in the improved accuracy of the state's future elections.

"The Diebold Company makes more than 95 percent of the bank ATM machines in Mississippi," says Clark. "So I think if they can keep up with our money they can keep up with our votes."

Clarks committee of local election officials and technology experts chose Diebold Election Systems as their best answer to the Help America Vote Act, a federal mandate for all states to update their voting machines.

"If the counties take these machines that we are making in this statewide purchase, there will be no expense to the counties. The federal money plus the state money will pay for the machines themselves, for the set up, for training.." 

But despite Clark's hard sell of Diebold as the best and the lest expensive of 10 companies they evaluated, some circuit clerks have concerns.

 "Weather it would be accessible to the voter," says Harrison County Circuit Clerk Gayle Parker. "And of course the fraud issue. That's always a question."

And since each county can chose their own favorite, some continue to look to elsewhere for a better way.

"I'm not really crazy about the system Eric Clark has picked out," admits Hancock County Circuit Clerk Pam Metzler. "I don't know anything about it."

 "That's the beauty of this law," says Jackson County Circuit Clerk Joe Martin. "Each county can decide which system fits their needs."

A fit that 76 counties must find by January the first.

by Don Culpepper

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