County to purchase new voting machines

Published 10:14 am Wednesday, June 13, 2018

By Ginger Broomes

The Orange Leader

June was proclaimed Men’s Health Awareness month in a proclamation read by the Commissioners Court, on behalf of Gift of Life, which promotes health screenings for men. A resolution was also approved nominating James Brown as the Court’s candidate for the Board of Directors of the Orange County Appraisal District.

County Treasurer Christy Khoury presented the court with a direct deposit in the amount of $459,053.81 representing the half-cent Sales and Use tax allocation for the month of April.

Per information shared at an earlier workshop on Tuesday, the Court voted to purchase 38 poll books and 36 Express Vote Ballot machines for voting locations at a possible cost of $110,285 for the machines and $57,190 for the books. More machines would have to be purchased at a later date to eventually serve all polling locations, but Election Administrator Tina Barrow said that the current machines were about 13 years old and were not tamper-proof, and could end up actually saving the county money in the long run.

“If we trade in the old machines we have now, we could get about $7,200 in credit,” Barrow told the Court.

She also said the new polling books were much less expensive than the previous ones. Commissioner Precinct 3 John Gothia recommended stretching out the costs with financing that would allow the county to pay back the machine portion of the expense over the course of three years, at less than one-percent interest, to put less strain on a county that is still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

The MIS department was given the go-ahead to look at bids for video equipment in order to begin taping every Commissioners’ Court, something Commissioner Jody Crump, Precinct 4, said was not yet required for a county the size of Orange, but stated that it would only be a matter of time before it would be.

“As part of transparency, I would like us to look at possibly doing this,” said Orange County Judge Dean Crooks. “Especially for people who aren’t able to attend these meetings, or just want to know about one agenda item.”

The bids would be presented at the next meeting and possibly voted on at that time, and if approved, would allow the public to view the video on a public website.