County may rent vote-counting machine

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During last year's election, ballot counting was on hold for two hours while workers tried to get Routt County's counting machine working.

This year, officials hope to avoid a similar problem by renting a vote-tallying machine. Routt County commissioners are expected to approve the $10,000 lease today.

In 2002, a switch on the county's machine began malfunctioning shortly after the polls closed, so workers turned the machine off, started over and eventually had to hand-count write-in votes.

"It turned out to be something we could work around," Routt County Clerk Kay Weinland said. "If it had turned out to be another button, we might not have been able to have election-night results."

The county has used the same machine since 1986, Weinland said.

By leasing a newer machine, similar problems could be avoided this year.

An alternative solution would be to buy a new machine, which would cost between $60,000 and $65,000, Weinland said.

Because election regulations are changing, Weinland said she decided it would be best to wait until federal legislation is in place before purchasing new equipment.

Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said that Weinland's choice made the most sense for this year.

"Changes in election law kind of are in flux, so (Weinland) didn't want to recommend that we purchase a new (machine)," Stahoviak said.

Routt County commissioners will decide on the lease at 10:35 a.m. today.

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