The Hamilton County Election Commission voted Wednesday to replace all voting machines using a $2 million grant from the Secretary of State for that purpose.
The cost of 130 new machines and maintenance from Election Systems and Software is just a few dollars shy of $2 million. In choosing ESS the commission replaces Dominion Voting Machines, which was embroiled this year in a defamation lawsuit against Fox News.
“We will be set to go with the newest standards coming up,” said Administrator of Elections Scott Allen, who said recently overhauled federal regulations for local elections will be in effect for about 12 years.
Mr. Allen said Hamilton County’s 200,000 regular voters will find the new machines to be fast, accurate and easy to use, and Commissioner Chris Clem said electronic ballot counting is better than hand-counting for Hamilton County’s size.
“I think there’s going to be a lot more accuracy and a less chance of fraud,” he said.
The ES&S DS300 is the newest in voting machines, compliant with federal voluntary voting system guidelines 2.0 of 2021. The machine uses a hand-fed tabulator, which is compatible with Tennessee’s required hand-marked, paper ballot system, it was stated.
Early voting in Snow Hill will take place at the former Harrison Elementary School, now a community center.
The election commission voted to create two new voting precincts, Falling Water B and Mowbray B, to clean up the redrawing of county Districts 1 and 2 in 2021. The 1,800 affected voters will be notified by mail of their new voting locations and given new voter registration cards.