Preston County invests in new voting machines

KINGWOOD — Preston Commissioners began canvassing the ballots Tuesday and signed a purchase agreement to buy new voting machines.
Total cost of the machines is $680,267.67. The county will pay $91,566.92 per year for four years as its share of the costs.
County Clerk Linda Huggins received a Homelands Security grant for $356,226.68 to upgrade voting equipment. That will go toward buying the machines and to upgrade office security in the clerk’s office, which can access the state wide online voter registration database.
“You don’t get $300,000 every day,” Commissioner Don Smith noted.
Huggins said ES&S, the company selling the machines, will also take away the old ones. There is no market for the old machines, she said.
Smith said West Virginia is ahead of many states in how it handles voting. Commission President Craig Jennings said that the secretary of state’s request that Preston be one of the counties to pilot electronic poll books was also a pat on the back.
In other matters, commissioners also agreed to allow Main Street Kingwood to use the pine tree at McGrew House as the town Christmas tree. A tree lighting will be held 3 p.m. Dec. 1, after the Christmas parade.
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