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Electronic poll books to be installed

After waiting for as long as possible, the Lunenburg County Electoral Board will move to electric poll books at each of the county’s 12 polling precincts.

“We plan to have the electronic poll books in place and the election officials trained in their use for the June primary as required by law,” Lunenburg Electoral Board Secretary Oliver Wright said.

Lunenburg remained one of only a few counties in the commonwealth to still use only paper voting ballots.

“We delayed going to electronic poll books because paper poll books served us well due to our limited population and resources,” Wright said. “It was much more cost-effective to print paper poll books than it was to procure, program, and maintain electronic ones.”

According to Wright, initially, the state was to provide the county with the necessary hardware and software for electronic poll books.

“That didn’t happen,” he said. “They later mandated using electronic poll books and required the counties to pay for them.”

Wright said the irony of it is that precincts will still be required to have paper poll books in each polling place as a backup if the electronic ones fail.

The Lunenburg Board of Supervisors voted to approve $24,827.00 during its Jan. 14 meeting to procure 15 electronic poll books; one for each of 12 polling places plus three spares. The cost also included specific peripheral equipment, poll book software, and in-person training.

According to Wright, the continuing cost will be for software licensing and maintenance at $1,875 per year.