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County set on voting system

By Jeanie Allen Davis     Kaufman Herald     16 September 2005

Kaufman County commissioners voted unanimously Monday to contract with Hart InterCivic voting system to provide new voting machines for the county.

Federal legislation is responsible for Monday's decision to upgrade voting systems. The Help America Vote Act of 2002 was Congress' reaction to the voting controversy in Florida during the 2000 presidential election.

The county received a federal grant of $515,000 to pay for the new equipment. The bid by Hart was $506,625.

A Direct Recording Electronic voting system will be located at each voting box. Voters can choose to use the DRE or a paper ballot.

Kaufman County Information and Technology director George York said, after further study, the question to answer was if the county had enough money from the federal grant for the new machines. York also cited the affect paper verification voting may have on the court's decision, and how comfortable older voters would be with the new systems.

A committee appointed by commissioners studied vendors, the voting systems and measured public response.

County tax collector Dick Murphy said the committee studied the elderly, using two systems to see which one was preferred. Originally, Murphy thought the county should go completely with DREs.

Murphy said a majority of people want paper ballots, electronically counted in each precinct, with one DRE, which would makes the county compliant to the Help America Vote Act.

York called the computer software "critical" in ensuring smooth operation of the systems. Murphy recommended the Hart Inter Civic voting system.

Commissioner Precinct 2 Jerry Rowden, who was on the committee, said the vote was 7-5 in favor of the Hart system.

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