County approves purchase of second ballot counting machine

County election officials will have a new counting machine in time for this fall’s election.

Since there was no school election this year, the elections office had a cost savings and was in a position to purchase another DS850 counting machine for $126,321.

The elections office is using $76,321 that was existing in their reserve fund, plus the $50,000 in savings from the canceled school election.

“We are the only large county with only one counting machine,” Lynn Deroche, the county elections supervisor, said during a June 14 meeting.

During the November 2018 election, they spent 43 hours straight counting ballots.

She said they’re hoping to cut the counting time in half with the second machine.

Commissioner Jane Weber said it’s a sophisticated piece of equipment.

Commissioner Joe Briggs said that having only one counting machine creates a singular point of failure, which is problematic.

If the machine were to fail, they’d have to hand count.

“Having redundant systems is a positive,” Briggs said.

Commissioners voted unanimously to transfer funds into the elections capital reserve account so officials could make the equipment purchase.