New voting machines can help restore confidence in elections, Secretary of State says

New voting machines can help restore confidence in elections, Secretary of State says
Updated: Aug. 23, 2018 at 4:28 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin says the state could begin replacing voting machines this spring in five parishes, including East Baton Rouge. Ardoin is preparing to negotiate a contract with Dominion Voting Systems to replace the machines.

The replacement comes after allegations of Russian interference in federal elections and general uncertainty about the integrity of 2016 election results. One study from M.I.T. revealed that just 60 percent of Americans were confident their vote counted as they intended during the last presidential election.

"We have to remember the Russians are trying to get into our heads through social media and make us question what's really going on," Ardoin said. "The fact of the matter is: nothing has really changed."

Ardoin, who is on the November ballots himself, said the Secretary of State's biggest challenge is defeating the public perception that the process is flawed. Ardoin said there is nothing seriously wrong with the old voting machines, but added that new machines will print receipts of the electronic ballot so that voters can be more confident about the process.

"Those old machines are safe, but it's time to upgrade," Ardoin said.

The initial cost of $94 million dollars surprised some experts, but Ardoin said it mirrors previous estimates. The new machines cost about $60 million up-front, and the remaining money will be spent over the next decade on maintenance.

Ardoin said the legislature will have to find money for the Secretary of State to finish the full expansion.

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