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Supervisors approve new voting machines

At Monday’s meeting of the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors, Circuit Clerk Nance Stokes approached the board concerning a need to purchase new voting machines for the county elections. Stokes’ request is for systems from Election Systems and Software (ESS)

Stokes (pictured) said the newer technology should alleviate some of the complaints that both her office and the board have received about the existing machines (TSX) which are approximately 15 years old. Stokes said that ESS would give the county a trade-in allowance on the current TSX machines.

The county will need 31 of the systems to service the 26 precincts (one added at emergency meeting last week) and 21 locations. Each system can handle approximately 1500 voters per Stokes.

Stokes stated, “The larger counties in the state such as Hinds, Rankin, and Lauderdale have flipped to using the ESS system and the feedback from all of them has been positive.”

Stokes added that there is a national push to go back to the paper ballots and scanners like the proposed ESS system per information the county received at a conference last week with the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office.

Reggie Hanberry, one of the county election commissioners, told the board that the preparation for an election will be much less using the new ESS machines. Hanberry said the county actually used the ESS machines for the Pearl River County school bond issue the first time it was voted on and the feedback from those involved, both poll workers, and voters was very positive using the paper ballots and the scanners.

The ESS system uses a pre-coded ballot and a scanner that reads the ballot as the voter places the ballot in the machine and it also collects the paper ballot.

During the discussion, County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin reviewed the quote and said his calculations show the machines would cost the county approximately $60,000 per year. Lumpkin said the amount, which is over $50,000, would mean the county would have to see if the ESS system is on the state contract, or else be forced to put out bids for the service. Hanberry, Stokes, and Lumpkin will look into how the county can move forward.

The board approved the request from Stokes, pending confirmation of how the purchase can be made per state laws and contracts. Stokes said that ESS has committed to having the new systems in place for the August primary election.

The link below is the product to be used.


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