Laramie County to update older voting equipment

(Erik Hersman / CC BY 2.0)
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CHEYENNE, Wyo.- Laramie county is among several counties in the state looking to replace voting equipment. It's something the federal government mandates all states to do every ten years.

The Laramie County Clerk's Office says the goal is not only to make voting more efficient, but also more secure.

To help find a revenue stream to fund the replacement, Wyoming has formed a task force called PAVE (Plan for Aging Voting Equipment). It's composed of representatives from the County Clerk's Association, the Secretary of States Office, the County Commissioner's Association and legislators.

Until the new equipment is purchased, which Laramie County Clerk Debra Lee says could cost Wyoming around $8 million, current equipment is checked religiously and regularly to make sure elections are reliable. Lee said, "The machines we have are reliable. They’re just getting older and there’s new technology now, and that enables us to run more efficient elections with the new technology."

Lee says the equipment was last replaced back in 2005 after Congress passed the Help America Vote Act after the presidential election in 2000. Lee said the election required ballots to be counted by hand after several problems occurred with voting machines. It took several weeks to get final results. Congress then passed the act in 2002 to make voting more efficient.

Lee says the goal is to have the new equipment by the next major election in 2020. She said, "2020 will be here before we know it and it's going to take time to get that revenue stream in place and then select that equipment. And because we use election equipment for a number of years, we want to make sure to select the right equipment."