Improving Voting for Residents in Lawrence County

WALNUT RIDGE, AR -- This past November many counties in Region 8 had various problems with their election process.

For Lawrence County, one of the problems was having to hand count the paper ballots.  Last fall all polling sites had to have electronic voting machines available for voters. Still, many people chose to vote the old fashioned way.

That choice was the cause of a slow down in the ballot counting process.  The quick ballot counting machine is over 20 years old and now obsolete, that's why a new one is needed.

"We asked the Quorum Court for the money to buy a new machine which will cost about $15,000," said Tina Stowers, County Clerk for Lawrence County.

The machine is used to count the paper ballots.  Last fall those had to be counted by hand delaying results until the next morning.  Stowers said about half of the people in the county still choose a paper ballot.

"I'd like to see it 75% using electronic as opposed to 25% using paper just to make it go easier," said Stowers.

The Quorum Court has to approve the purchase of the machine.  If purchased, it should be ready for the 2008 elections.

The County also received a $16,000 Americans with Disabilities grant from the federal government to make improvements to their polling sites.