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Deadline looms, funds short for required voting changes

Lincoln County officials find themselves on the horns of adilemma over voting locations and procedures.

Under the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, the county- all counties, in fact – by January must meet stringent newrequirements, including electronic voting and improvedaccessibility for handicapped voters. The county already has joineda statewide purchase of touch-screen voting machines but will needmore than what state funds will buy. At a cost of $3,000 permachine, the tab will quickly mount. In addition, many pollingplaces will need to be structurally modified (wider doors, room tomaneuver wheelchairs, etc.) to meet the accessibility requirementsof the federal law.

To comply with these demands, Lincoln County had requested morethan $50,000 from the state to help it comply; instead, we willreceive just $17,000.

This poses a real problem for our county officials. A lack of moneymeans some creative and critical thinking is in order – andfast.

While the penalty for failing to comply is unclear, the county hasno choice but find a way and do it. We trust our supervisors andelection commissioners will sense the urgency and act quickly tobring Lincoln County in line with federal law and ensure easy andaccurate voting for all residents.