Macoupin County Clerk Pete Duncan recently asked the County Board to purchase new voting machines ahead of the 2020 Presidential Election.
“The machines we have were purchased in 2004. They were recommended for use for 8 years and they are now on their 15th year” Duncan explained. “These machines are showing their age, breaking down and no longer getting the job done. It’s time to get new machines to make sure voters have full confidence their vote will count in 2020.”
Duncan stated the current machines were developed in 1989 and asked how many people would be satisfied using a computer in their home that was originally designed in 1989? “When it comes to something as important as making sure a vote is counted and counted correctly, I don’t find it acceptable to have a machine counting that was developed before most people even had heard of the internet, email, or owned their own computer.”
Due to of the additional security concerns and certifications required by the State Board of Elections, new voting equipment does not come cheap. The plan proposed by Duncan would have the county pay for the machines over a 4 year lease and use savings after those four years to cover the down payment required in 2 more years. “I know every dollar matters when it comes to taxpayer money going to big purchases,” Duncan explained. “That’s why I proposed a plan that will cover all costs required to get these machines without adding one single penny to my budget. No one can argue we can’t afford these machines with the plan I’ve proposed.”
To cover the costs of the new machines, Duncan will use money already paying for the maintenance of the current machines, the software licensing costs, in addition to cutting some current small contracts the Election office. The plan also calls for some precincts to consolidate and use the savings from those changes to pay for the machines.
“I know some are strongly opposed to changing precincts,” Duncan said. “I understand that. But I also know that when we bought the current machines in 2004, only 1 out of 20 voters were voting before Election Day. In the 2018 General Election, 1 out of 5 voters voted before Election Day, and that number will only continue to grow. We have less voters voting at their precinct on Election Day, yet are spending the same amount of money on judges, polling places and machines as we did when many more voted at their precinct. That is not fiscally responsible, especially when we have an urgent need for new voting machines that can be paid for by reducing the number of precincts.”
Anyone interested in finding more information about the new voting machines or viewing the precinct changes are being proposed are encouraged to visit www.macoupinvotes.gov/new-voting-machines/ and “like” the Macoupin County Clerk’s Office Facebook page for updates about the plan.