More voting machine funds if Barbour signs legislation

By Bobby Harrison

Daily Journal Jackson Bureau

JACKSON – Legislation has been sent to Gov. Haley Barbour to provide $6 million more to help Mississippi's 82 counties purchase more voting machines.

The legislation, which originated in the House, was passed Monday by the Senate with no dissenting votes.

Senate Elections Committee chairman Terry Burton, R-Newton, said the $6 million will be used to replace anticipated federal funds that Congress never appropriated. New federal legislation placed mandates on the states, such as additional access for the disabled and voting machines that cut down on voter error.

Congress also provided money to help with the mandates. Mississippi is getting about $30 million to help purchase voting machines and to develop a statewide voter roll.

As part of the Help America Vote Act, the state entered into a contract with Diebold to provide touch screen machines. Five counties, including Lee in Northeast Mississippi, opted not to be part of the state contract.

According to Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, the bill passed Monday also will provide funds for the counties that opted out of the state contract.

Those counties will receive the same amount of money as if they were part of the state contract, Bryan said. Lee County is slated to receive $377,000 in federal funds and about $145,000 in state funds if Barbour signs the bill into law.

Lee County Circuit Clerk Joyce Loftin said the money will help with the scanner voter system the county is purchasing and will help with improving the accessibility for the disabled at the precincts.

Contact Bobby Harrision at (601) 353-3119 or BHarri9015@aol.com

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