In 2004, Macoupin County purchased the voting machines the county currently uses now. After 15 years, the machines are showing their age and beginning to break down. Pete Duncan, Macoupin County Clerk, is asking the County Board to purchase new voting machines before the 2020 Election.
This will be a decision made by the County Board, but here’s some important information for you to know.
What will the new machines be like?
For most voters, they won’t be able to tell the difference. There will be a paper ballot. They will fill in the ovals next to who they wish to vote for. They will then slide it into the machine to be counted. One big difference is if a voter uses a touchscreen to vote, after they have finished voting, a paper ballot will be printed out and have to be slid into the tabulator. Below are two videos from the manufacturer of the machines showing how they work.
Why do we need new voting machines?
The machines we have now were recommended for use for 8 years. We are now at 15 years. They are breaking down, not working on Election Day, and in some instances, not counting ballots. For example, in this April’s election, 6 ballots were not counted by the machine on Election Day. During the audit period after, the Election Office was able to catch this discrepancy and get the votes counted, but that is still a troubling fact. And with the 2020 Election approaching and turnout expected to be extremely high, now is the time to get new machines that everyone can have confidence in before the 2020 Election.
How much do they cost?
New voting machines are expensive, at about $4,000 a piece. Because of the need for extreme security on these machines and the need to have a system that is certified by the State Board of Elections, the cost is high.
So how is the County going to pay for that?
The County’s budget is tight. Since the County Clerk’s office started talking about getting new machines a year ago, the Board has asked repeatedly how he was going to pay for it. His plan pays for the machines without adding one single penny to the budget. Using money currently paying for maintenance and licensing on the current machines and by consolidating precincts, these machines can be paid for without adding any additional money being spent.
Which precincts are changing?
To see which precincts are changing by township, please visit the precinct changes page for a brief description as well as a map.
Will my polling place change?
If the precincts are changed, 11 current precincts would probably have a new polling place. 50 of the current precincts will have no changes to their polling place. Please visit the polling place changes page for a list of which precincts will not change and which precincts would change.
Will who I vote for when it comes to County Board, Alderman, State Senator, etc change if precincts change?
No, if your precinct changes, it will not change who you vote for or your district or ward. Those could change after the census in 2020, but they are not effected by precinct changes.
Why should the precincts change?
The current precinct lines were drawn in 1976. Things have changed considerably since then. When the current machines were bought in 2004, early voting and no excuse voting by mail didn’t exist. Only 1 out of 20 voters voted before Election Day, meaning a lot of voters showed up at their precinct. In the 2018 General Election, 1 out of 5 voters voted before Election Day. That means more and more voters are not going to their precinct to vote, and that number is only growing. It just makes financial sense to reduce the number of precincts to help pay for the new machines since less voters are going to their precinct to vote.
Who decides if new machines should be purchased?
Ultimately, it will be the County Board’s decision. They will be the ones to decide if new machines are going to be bought, how to pay for it, and if precincts should be changed to pay for it. The plan the County Clerk’s office proposes will allow for new machines without spending any additional dollars. If you have an opinion on how the Board should vote, you can follow Board agendas to see when they will vote at MacoupinMinutes.com or contact your Board member.