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AZ Counties Look to Replace Outdated Voting Machines

Cronkite News

Most voting machines are only designed to last about a decade. A new study shows many of the machines in use across the U.S. are close to that age, and that could increase the chances of voting irregularities for the 2016 election cycle. Arizona Public Radio’s Justin Regan reports. 

The Brennan Center for Justice says the outdated machines are more susceptible to hacking and other security problems. Replacement parts for the older machines are also hard to find, and their internal computers crash more often, which could slow down the voting process.

The 2002 Help America Vote Act provided local governments with federal funds to buy new voting machines. But now federal money is no longer available to counties for replacement voting equipment.

Some county election officials in northern Arizona want to replace their aging machines. Officials in Apache County say they want to replace their equipment before the 2016 election cycle, but budget cuts could prevent it. Coconino County Recorder Patty Hansen says the county will replace its machines after 2016. She says programming new devices could cause unforeseen problems, especially during a high-turnout presidential election.

Other Arizona counties have been more proactive in updating their equipment. Yavapai County bought new machines last year, and Mohave County will pay for them out of a fund specifically created several years ago to buy new voting machines for the 2016 election.

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