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Doña Ana Won't Use New Voting Machines Nov. 2

The Associated Press  04 October 2004
    LAS CRUCES— Seventy-five new voting machines purchased by Doña Ana County earlier this year will have to sit out the Nov. 2 general election.
    The county doesn't have enough of the new machines to put them in every district and there isn't enough time to train staff and the public to use them, interim County Clerk Rita Torres said.
    "We would need 106," said Torres, who was appointed interim clerk by the County Commission in March. "Of the 75 we do have, eight of them don't work, so we couldn't use them anyway."
    "Until we have all the machines we need, we'll just have to use what we've been using," Torres said.
    A California company that manufacturers the new, computerized voting machines was supposed to ship additional machines to the county by now. But county officials have not been able to contact the manufacturer to determine why the new machines have not been shipped.
    Torres said mixing old and new machines would only add to Election Day confusion.
    Charlie Escobar, a New Mexico State University student who recently registered to vote for the first time, said he doesn't need more confusion.
    "Whatever they do, they just need to keep it simple," Escobar said. "Since I've never voted before, I'm a little curious to see for myself just how simple or difficult it's going to be to vote."
    Denise Lamb, director of the New Mexico Bureau of Elections, said some other counties continue to use the older voting machines.
    "There's several counties still doing it," Lamb said. "Other counties, like Bernalillo County and Valencia County, have been using the new machines for a while."
    Lamb added that, with the election nearing, it is prudent for counties to stick with one type of voting machine.
    "I wouldn't urge any county to use the new voting system in a presidential election unless there has been plenty of time for everyone to get familiar with it," Lamb said.

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