Elections in Pulaski County may look more high-tech following the delivery of several pieces of equipment.
Pulaski County used grant funds generated through the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) as a way to refurbish voting machines and purchase e-poll books. The devices, described as iPads with a special scanning attachment for identification, allow voters to move through lines more quickly during voting hours.
Election Board member Jon Frain says the dated voting machines had a screen that was sometimes difficult to see.
“That was probably the biggest Election Day complaint we had from visually impaired people or just people who had a hard time seeing it in general – that the lighting affected the little green screen,” says Frain.
Pulaski County had a significant number of precincts, allowing them to obtain “gobs” of federal funding for the project.
Due to the reduced number of polling sites with the transition to a “vote center” county, some voting machines were also able to be sold back to the vendor. Voting centers will allow Pulaski County residents to vote using the proper ballot from any of the five proposed polling locations.
The Pulaski County Public Library was chosen by the Election Board, but is being vetted, for early voting. Referring to Director MacKenzie Ledley, Frain says a tour of the library facility may be in order.
“I do like the prospect of removing absentee ballot voting from the courthouse,” says Frain. “There’s ample parking, she’s got signage, she’ll use signage, there’s nice handicap bathrooms right there.”
The Election Board plans to go through the mechanics of using the equipment prior to training poll workers in preparation for May’s Primary Elections.
Those meetings will take place in the near future.