Floyd County elections officials are scheduled to get their first round of training on the new Dominion Voting System machines on Oct. 1 and 2.
It’s a tighter schedule than Chief Elections Clerk Robert Brady had been hoping for, since they’ll be used in the March 2020 presidential preference primary.
“But we’ll get it done. We’ll get it done,” he assured members of the County Elections Board Tuesday at their monthly meeting.
The Georgia Secretary of State is also starting public demonstrations of the machines, which combine touch-screen technology with a print-out of voters’ choices. The paper ballot is then scanned and the votes recorded.
Brady said the DVS was unveiled at a shopping center in Duluth on Tuesday and the state wants counties to submit ideas for local demonstrations.
If it’s too late to schedule it for the Coosa Valley Fair — which starts at the same time as the training — Elections Board member John Scott Husser Jr. suggested setting up at the Chiaha Harvest Festival at the end of October.
The secretary of state training module will be in Atlanta and involve eight separate equipment stations.
“This is so we’ll be able to answer the basic questions,” Brady said. “It’s two all-day events and a temp will man the office while we’re gone.”
Brady and his staff, in turn, will train the pollworkers.
The old electronic voting machines will be used for the Rome City elections in November but six counties will be piloting the DVS: Bartow, Paulding, Catoosa, Carroll, Lowndes and Decatur.
The state will collect Floyd County’s old machines after the city election, but it’s unclear when they’ll deliver the new ones. Officials also are waiting for confirmation that DVS equipment will replace the Balotar mail-in absentee voting equipment.
Brady said the county would be responsible next year for supplying toner and paper for the DVS machines, estimated at about 13 cents per ballot. The state is paying for the system.
“But there’s a fly in the ointment,” he noted. “They don’t come with stands, so we’ll also have to come up with a way to display these things in a usable fashion. Private and secure.”
Vendors have been contacting elections officials around the state, Brady said, with offerings ranging from a $35 set of cardboard dividers for an 8-foot table to a $775 unit that houses four machines.
Each of Floyd County’s 25 precincts typically has four or five voting machines. Brady said they’ll also need two privacy tables each for the early voting locations.
Elections Board Chair Tom Rees noted that money budgeted for voting equipment in previous years has been left unspent, pending the state’s decision on a new system. He asked Brady to get the exact dollar amount for discussion at the next meeting, set for Oct. 15.