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In Mason County: Upgrade for voting machines planned

By DANETTA BARKER Staff Writer   Maysville Ledger Independent
Friday, April 29, 2005 
Counties across the state are struggling to bring voting polls into compliance not only under the American with Disabilities Act but also under the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

Mason County is no exception. However, the financial burden of such a task has been somewhat relieved. Commissioners voted in a called meeting Friday to enter into an agreement with the State Board of Elections to replace or upgrade lever voting machines at $382 per machine for a total of $9,186.

The agreement includes $100,000 to purchase voting machines that are handicapped accessible, including those who are blind and visually impaired. The machines insure those who are handicapped can vote independently and with privacy. The county will buy a machine for each precinct at the cost of $5,000 each. To upgrade in-house and mail-in ballots the county will receive $10,000.

One in-house absentee voting machine will also be purchased for $5,000.

According to information from the State Board of Elections, counties are required to produce a paper audit trail of all votes cast. New voting machines provide that information.

The funds under the agreement are federal funds granted to Kentucky under Title I and Title II of the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

All upgrades and replacements must be made by Jan. 1, 2006.

More money is also coming to the county through the General Assembly. Commissioners adopted a resolution Friday for the transportation of non-public school students. The legislature approved $2.5 million to reimburse fiscal courts for portions of costs incurred in the current school year for transporting non-public school students.

Mason County Judge-Executive James "Buddy" Gallenstein said the portion Mason County will receive is based on the number of students served.

"The school district will tell me how many students they haul and the miles they travel," Gallenstein said. "I have to write a check to the school district and submit the information to the state and the state reimburses the county."

The Mason County school district transports student to St. Patrick's Catholic School as well as other parochial schools in the county.

The court entered into an agreement with the Department of Transportation for waste disposal. The county will receive $12,500 from the state for disposing of waste material from the department.

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