Sangamon County had to obtain new voting machines after the State Board of Elections ruled the county couldn’t use the more than 900 machines it purchased for $2.7 million three years ago.
The board said the company that made the machines, Populex Corp. of Elgin, had not completed all the required testing.
County officials say they prefer to rent equipment for this election because the state is likely to adopt new standards for voting machines, and the county does not want to be stuck with even more machines that might not be certified under the new rules.
The cost to rent the machines is about $429,000 for the first year.
Compared to the Populex machines, the rental equipment is fairly simple. Voters will mark paper ballots with a pen or pencil, and those ballots will be fed into a scanner.
Voters who miss a race or over-vote will be alerted by the machines and given the option of changing their ballots.
I have no idea if these new machines are more secure as far as counting votes, but they HAVE to be easier to use than the old voting machines (the ones we’ve used for the last several years). I’m not technologically inept, but those old machines were very confusing in some regards. I mean, I really felt stupid using them and I’m sure I wasn’t alone in that. Good riddance. But are we now stuck with the $2.7 million in unwanted voting machines? That seems like a big loss.