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New election equipment rolling out to counties

August 28, 2019

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — New election equipment to replace aging voting machines is being rolled out in North Dakota.

The Legislature budgeted about $8 million this year along with $3 million in federal funds for the new election equipment statewide that will replace 15-year-old machines which have occasionally failed. A survey of county auditors by the North Dakota Association of Counties this year showed 27 ballot scanners failed in 16 counties during the 2018 primary and general elections.

State election officials received more than 900 machines and devices last month and began testing them. They include 425 precinct tabulators, or ballot scanners; 425 assistive devices, for voters with physical difficulty in marking ballots; and 53 central count machines, for processing absentee and mail ballots.

Now they’re being delivered to local officials. State Elections Director John Arnold said new voting equipment had been delivered to 25 of the state’s 53 counties so far this week, according to the Bismarck Tribune .

Deputy Secretary of State Jim Silrum expects the new machines to be fully distributed by mid-September, though one election in Stark County next month will utilize the old equipment one more time. Voters on Sept. 10 will decide the fate of a proposed $89 million bond issue to fund school construction including a new high school in Dickinson.

The new voting machines, which still use paper ballots, will be in use for the June 9, 2020, primary election.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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