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Board of Elections tests new voting equipment

The Beaufort County Board of Elections conducted a simulated election Thursday to test Election Systems and Software’s voting equipment, marking off another required step in the Board’s process of seeking a new system.

The sound of sample ballots being fed into voting machines filled a room in the Board of Elections office. Workers acquainted themselves with the new software as they dealt with many of the same processes they’d deal with in a real election, from organizing ballots to gathering results.

The county’s current voting equipment has been in use since 2006 and has exceeded its life expectancy.

Weeks before the simulated election, the Board of Elections and members of the public witnessed demonstrations of two different systems. In seeking new voting equipment, boards of elections are legally required to see demonstrations of two voting systems, and one of them must be a certified voting system that isn’t currently used by the county. Representatives from Hart InterCivic presented the company’s equipment on April 21, followed by Elections Systems and Software’s presentation on April 27.

Now that the simulated election is complete, the Board of Elections will present the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners with a recommendation to purchase the Election Systems and Software equipment. The commissioners can decide whether to approve the purchase, but they cannot choose another system if they don’t like the recommendation.