Arkansas Seeking Bids on New Voting Systems

JULY 12, 2005 - Posted at 4:27 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas is moving closer to acquiring new voting systems for each of its 75 counties to prevent the balloting crisis that led to the unprecedented Florida recount in the 2000 presidential election.

Secretary of State Charlie Daniels is seeking bids on new voting equipment systems for Arkansas voters, estimated to cost more than $18 million.

Daniels' office is upgrading voting systems statewide to comply with state and federal election laws passed after the 2000 recount that determined George W. Bush's win over Al Gore.

At least one new electronic voting machine will be available at each of the polls in the May 23 primary elections in Arkanasas.  The new systems will not be entirely in place throughout the state until the November general election of that year.

By the May primaries, the new systems will be in place in the 13 counties that still use the punch card and lever machines and in the nine counties that still count paper ballots by hand.  Three of those counties (Baxter, Mississippi, White) are in Region 8.  Izard County is the only Region 8 county that still uses paper ballots.

There also will be at least one electronic voting machine at every polling place in the state.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)