Young County Elections Administrator Lauren Sullivan lobbied county commissioners for a cutting-edge update to the county’s election equipment. Young
Young County Elections Administrator Lauren Sullivan lobbied county commissioners for a cutting-edge update to the county's election equipment. Young will be the first county in Texas to use such equipment. (Casey Holder)
Thanks to a 4-1 vote Monday morning by the Commissioners Court, the Young County Elections Office will be the first in Texas to purchase the most advanced election equipment currently available on the market.

The equipment comes from Hart Intercivic's Verity line, and from the start, Young County Elections Administrator Lauren Sullivan led the months-long campaign to convince county officials to allocate funds for the hardware.

Based on commissioners' testimony Monday, it's likely that the acquisition would not have been voted in if not for a sizable offer from Ector County to purchase 177 pieces of Young County's current election equipment, also from Hart, for a grand total of $175,000. This effectively takes Young County's financial burden for the new equipment down to about $160,000 from $345,000.

“Let me make a statement about where I've been and where I've come to,” Mike Sipes said directly after Sullivan informed the court of Ector County's offer. “When we first talked about this $345,000 worth of new voting machines (and we had) voting machines that were still servicing this county, I thought it was not something I desired to do.

"But through the work and efforts of (Mrs.) Sullivan, quite frankly, the market conditions that are out there for these machines we have now, it seems like an optimum and opportune time to change the voting machines in Young County and go to these higher technology (machines).

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Once the new Verity line hits the market, Young County's current equipment will no longer be worth $175,000, Sipes said, adding that he saw no reason not to sign the agreement with Hart, provided that the same terms and conditions apply.

“When you consider what we've been doing for management and upkeep on the old machines and take that from the price of what we've been doing on the new machines will be, it falls right in line with the theory of leasing equipment and trading it in every three years before it breaks down,” Sipes said.

Sullivan said that the commissioners will need to allocate another $10,000 each year on top of the $40,000 they had tentatively budgeted for that line in her election budget, which will cover the licensing and support through Hart and constitutes an annual fee.

Read the entire story in Wednesday's Graham Leader.