Five Arkansas counties are to receive new voting equipment in time for upcoming elections in the fall. This is the first round of equipment given following a successful trial of the new voting system this spring. Secretary of State Spokesman Chris Powell says the new machines are sorely needed.
“The current equipment that most of the state uses is about 10 years old and is nearing the end of its life cycle, so we are looking to upgrade equipment across the state,” Powell says.
The new system will include new voting machines, tabulating machines, and software. He says funds for the project are being provided by the existing budget of the Secretary of State’s Office and will not require additional revenue.
The new equipment is expected to improve the process for voters and poll workers, Powell says.
“The new system is a little more streamlined. It’s going to shorten wait times for voters. It’s also going to streamline the system for tabulating the votes for the poll workers which means they’re not having to stay there all night to get this data uploaded. It goes a lot quicker.”
Powell says the Secretary of State’s Office implemented the new equipment in geographically different areas of Arkansas. This allowed them to collect information on the voting trial earlier this year from many polling stations across the state.
The initial equipment was provided to Boone, Columbia, Garland, and Sebastian Counties. The new round of equipment will be going to Chicot, Cleveland, Jackson, Randolph, and Washington Counties.