Lincoln County voters will be able to use new equipment when they go to the polls in June, and it didn’t cost taxpayers a dime. In fact, the county will end up with money in return.
The county’s old equipment was purchased in 2006 and was only intended for 10 years of use, Chancery Clerk Dustin Bairfield said. Using federal grants, his office purchased the equipment for a total of $206,370.
The Justice Department issued new guidelines in 2019 that specified federal grants would only be awarded to support local elections if voting materials had a paper trail, Bairfield said. The county’s choice was based on machines that met DOJ criteria and selected the one that was most widely used in Mississippi and easiest for the voter to use, he said.
Election costs were not expected to increase because although the law requires the use of a printed ballot, printing ballots with the new equipment costs less than 5 cents each, compared to 30 cents each with the new equipment. previous equipment. Even though each voter will now use a scannable printed ballot instead of a simple affidavit or curbside voters, the total cost will remain virtually the same, Bairfield said.
In addition, the state legislature this year passed a bill that requires each county to use precinct meters already purchased by Lincoln County. Counties that have already made the purchase will be reimbursed for costs, even if grants were used.
“We should have some left over to help pay for other election costs,” Bairfield said. “We were very lucky when the state handed that money over to the counties to encourage them to return to paper-based voting as the DOJ wants. We have brand new election materials free of charge.
The new scannable ballots will allow voters and election officials to know immediately if there are any errors on the ballot, eliminating the need for officials to go back and review each submitted ballot. Ballots will be used after the election to verify and certify the official results.
“The two real benefits are that the voter can watch to check how they voted, and then poll workers have less equipment, so less they have to learn how to do it,” Bairfield said.
A scanner will be placed in each of the county’s 30 precincts, at a cost of approximately $5,500 each.
The new equipment is ADA compliant, so anyone having difficulty filling out a paper ballot can use a touchscreen to vote, and a paper ballot will then be printed. The voter can examine their ballot to verify that it shows they voted as they intended, and then the ballot will be submitted.
Touchscreens can also be used in the event that a paper ballot cannot be used for some reason, Bairfield said.
“The compound scanner will be located near the exit door. The voter will insert their ballot and the scanner will verify that it was read correctly, or immediately notify the voter if there is a problem, like a smudge or something like that,” Bairfield said. ” This is a good thing. The voter will know immediately that their vote was counted correctly.
Who will be on the ballots?
Voters will choose a candidate for the Republican congressional primary on June 7. Facing incumbent District 3 incumbent Michael Guest are challengers Michael Cassidy and Thomas Griffin. A second round will take place on June 28 between the first two voters if one of the three does not obtain at least 50% of the votes on June 7.
The winner of the primary will qualify for the November 8 general election, where he will face Democratic candidate Shuwaski A. Young. No Democratic primary will be held in District 3, since Young is his party’s only candidate.
The District 2 Elections Commissioner seat is also up for election in November in Lincoln County. Former commissioner Tiffany Furr resigned in April, and the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors called a special election to coincide with the general election in November.
Anyone interested in running for office must collect at least 50 signatures from registered voters in District 2 and submit them to the Chancery Clerk’s Office so they can be certified by 5 p.m. on September 9. The election will be for a single one-year term, as Districts 2 and 4 positions will be up for election in 2023 for their regular terms.
Other offices up for election in 2022 include:
- Mississippi Supreme Court, Court of Appeals Judge, for an 8-year term – incumbent Virginia Carlton faces Bruce W. Burton
- Lincoln County Chancery Court Judge Joseph Durr was unopposed
- Lincoln County Circuit Court Judges Michael Taylor and David Strong Jr. unopposed
- Brookhaven School Board Elected Councilor — 5-year term; the qualification period is from August 10 to September 10. 9
- Lincoln County School Board District 5 member — 6-year term; documents must be submitted by September 9
Absentee voting is now open at the Chancery Clerk’s Office Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The office will also be open from 8 a.m. to noon on two Saturdays, May 28 and June 4.