Not wanting to break a 14-year relationship with a reliable company, County Clerk Lisa Lloyd told county commissioners July 17 she is going to renew the contract to remain with the current company that provides voting machines to the county.

Lloyd said she had been looking at other companies for a while, but after learning of the new products available with New York-based Dominion Voting Systems, she was going to stick with what has been working well. “The customer service we have had with Dominion is hands-down the best, and that’s life or death out in this rural area.”

The clerk’s office is purchasing 23 new machines, approximately 35 iPad tablets, privacy screens, the counting equipment and the computers needed to run the counting equipment and more.

The cost to the county is expected to be $150,000, but Lloyd said if approved for a state grant she is applying for, the cost might only be $75,000.

Lloyd said she really liked the features and ease of operation on one of the other systems she was considering, “but when I saw Dominion’s new system, to me it was kind of a no-brainer because it’s so close to what we are already doing that I don’t think the learning curve is going to be as steep.”

The goal is to have the equipment in place and ready for use in the 2018 midterm elections.

“Our voters are already used to voting a certain way and it’s almost identical,” she said.

Dominion’s history spans more than 100 years with roots all the way back to 1895 and the invention of the first Direct Recording lever machines in New York.

Included in the new system will be electronic poll books. “That will be a huge change for voters,” Lloyd said. “What that means is that the voter comes to check in and instead of all the paper that everyone is used to, now it will literally be a kiosk that includes the laptop that faces the poll worker and something similar to an iPad tablet faces the voter. The poll worker keys in your name and information comes up on the tablet, you confirm the information, address and such, and then sign it right there. Everything is maintained electronically and transferred immediately into our system. It streamlines things quite a bit and will eliminate a whole lot of work for us.”