E-voting machines received

Some school districts and municipal entities may still be grappling with a scheduling problem involving their 2012 elections but the problem has been resolved in Rockdale.

City Secretary Terry Blanchard told The Reporter that two electronic voting machines, purchased jointly by the city, Rockdale ISD and Rockdale Hospital District, have arrived.

“ We w ill have our loc a l elections on schedule May 12, 2012,” Blanchard said.

Some entities have been eyeing moving 2012 local elections to November due to a complex set of circumstances involving a new election law.

But Rockdale’s will proceed on schedule after the three entities agreed to share the cost— about $5,600 each—of purchasing voting machines after Milam County officials announced theirs would not be available.

CONFLICT—Blanchard said a new state law, intended to make casting a ballot easier for overseas militar y personnel, had some unintended consequences.

“It caused some dates to be pushed back,” she said. “ The key one was next year’s primary runoff dates.”

“Our (city/school/hospital district) elections are on the second Saturday in May,” she said. “Next year that will be May 12.”

“But, with the new runoff date, early voting for the runoffs would start less than two days later, the Monday morning after the Saturday elections,” she said. “That’s not going to give the county time to program those machines if we, and the other entities, use them.”

‘NO CHANGE’—Faced with purchasing their own machines or changing election dates, the Rockdale entities entered into an interlocal agreement and bought their own equipment.

“Voters won’t notice a change at all,” Blanchard said. “They are exactly the same as the county’s machines we’ve all been voting on.”

“ In fact, that’s by design,” she said. “By getting the same machines we will still be able to use the county’s central counting station.”

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