djr-2020-02-14-news-watson-twp3

Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson visits Lee County Circuit Clerk Camille Roberts Dulaney in Tupelo, Thursday, and to learn about the state of the county’s voting machines as part of statewide tour of local circuit clerk offices.

TUPELO • With fewer than eight weeks until election day, county leaders have agreed to purchase new, upgraded election equipment to try to shorten the time voters have to spend inside polling precincts.

The Lee County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to purchase 70 new electronic poll books and other equipment at a total cost of around $200,000.

Lee County Circuit Clerk Camille Roberts Dulaney said the county is purchasing ExpressPoll pollbooks from Election Systems & Software, LLC. These tablet-based devices allow poll workers to search quickly for a voter and verify his or her identity.

Dulaney hopes the new tech will reduce check-in and verification waiting time for voters and increase the accuracy of ballots. The new poll books are an upgraded version of those currently being used by area poll workers.

“Like anything technology, ours are out of date,” Dulaney said.

Dulaney hopes to have the new poll books by Election Day.

Lee County administrator Bill Benson told the Daily Journal the equipment was purchased with state funds, but county supervisors had to approve the expenditure to comply with federal and state mandates.

The purchase was funded through the Help America Vote Act, a federal law passed in 2002 that allocates money to states to purchase voting equipment and help implement election administration reforms.

In addition to equipment that she hopes will keep lines moving and help avoid large crowds of voters at polling places, Dulaney said her office is planning to outfit every polling machine with hand sanitizer. Voters will also each receive his or her own pen to fill out a ballot to help minimize the potential spread of COVID-19.

taylor.vance@journalinc.com

Twitter: @taylor_vance28

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