STATE APPROVES 154 NEW VOTING MACHINES FOR DOÑA ANA COUNTY

STATE APPROVES 154 NEW VOTING MACHINES FOR DOÑA ANA COUNTY

Doña Ana County Interim Chief Deputy Clerk Mari Langford-Pãvao obtained approval Tuesday from the state Board of Finance for the purchase of 75 new touch-screen voting machines, in addition to 79 more machines and $100,000 in software to be bought with state-appropriated money.

The 75 machines purchased Tuesday will be delivered in three to four weeks, county Interim Elections Administrator Andy Perez said. Purchase and delivery dates of the additional 79 machines are pending the release of state funds. The 154 new machines will bring the county’s inventory of voting machines to 374.

Perez said touch-screen voting will be available at all polling sites in the county, including the early voting precincts. The machines are fully ADA accessible and feature instructions and voting screens in both English and Spanish, Sequoia Pacific, the maker of the touch-screen AVC Edge machine, reports on its Web site.

Perez said residents can access one of the new machines, programmed with a mock ballot, at the county Clerk’s Office, so voters can become familiar with the new machines’ interface before the 2004 Primary Election.

The 220 voting machines in the county’s current inventory are Sequoia Pacific’s AVC Advantage models. The AVC Edge, Perez said, is about half the price of the Advantage, and updated software that runs the Edge can be used to program the Advantage.

The AVC Edge machine uses an elections database system compatible with the Microsoft Windows operating system for all phases of the election cycle. Doña Ana County election administrators have until now used the dated Microsoft Disk Operating System, or DOS, to program its older machines. Perez said the Windows-friendly software will enable election administrators to easily program both machine types in the same format.

For more information, call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 647-7229. Residents calling from outside the Las Cruces area may call toll-free at 1-877-827-7200 and request extension 7229.