Lubbock County voting officials took a trip to the Fort Worth area this week to observing early voting. That county, and at least five others, are already using this system that will soon be required by law.
Lubbock County is already taking a look of at least three voting machines it will need by January 1st, 2006. "We'll go back in three weeks to the Metroplex to look at two other machines," said Chief Deputy Dorothy Kenedy.
She says several representatives of Lubbock County are observing early voting places in other counties to see how these machines work. The Direct Recording Equipment will be required by law and its purpose is to make voting easier for the disabled. "It will increase our independence. Before, we had family members vote with us and we did not have a sense of privacy," said Michelle Crain, Executive Director of Life Run.
Michelle works with the disabled and is disabled herself. She says the machines will help a great deal. "We'll have no excuse to not vote," she said.
Kenedy say the Tarrant County system seems to work. It uses a dial machine similar to this but before Lubbock County makes a commitment, Kenedy says the county is simply shopping around. "There are touch screens, dials were you can move it to your selection and machines that mark the ballots for you."
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Lubbock County will receive roughly $280,000 in grant money to fund for 92 machines for Lubbock County. But Kenedy says she is quickly learning there are some overhead costs that the county will have to foot the bill.