The Board of Elections and Registration approved purchasing additional paper ballots Thursday to ensure it has enough for residents, and avoid state fines.
Elections Supervisor Andy Harper said that every year, Kennesaw State University, which hosts the state Center for Elections Systems, uses information of active and inactive voters to estimate how many paper ballots – mainly used for absentee voters – that the county will need.
Harper said he spoke to other counties, whose officials said they generally buy 30 percent over the estimate to ensure they have enough.
“Most counties tell me that they do a percentage above that to make sure they are covered by law, because this county could be fined if we run out of ballots,” Harper said. “… My suggestion would be to go with what other counties do, and do 30 percent above that number … I’d rather spend the money up front than get a fine later.”
Harper said KSU officials told him that by using its estimate “99 percent of the time” a county won’t run out, “but I want that 100 percent.” Harper said there has not been a problem with shortage of ballot in the county before, but Dianna Cofield in the elections office said they have previously gone with the 30 percent over estimate.
Board member J. C. Cameron suggested the elections office increase that to 40 to make sure. Harper said he would use whatever recommendation the board made.
“We go 40 percent, we pay now (or we) pay later,” Cameron said.
Ballots cost about $2 each, and Harper said the addition would probably be about 20 ballots.
Board member Fred Higgins made a motion to go with 40 percent above the KSU estimate. The BOER voted for the 40 percent with Lonnie Hollis the sole opposing vote.
“I’d go along with the 3o percent … I think it’s a waste,” she said. “Thirty percent worked before.”
In another matter, Harper said he had secured a locking box to store the GEMS server in. The server, which is used to download all the precincts’ information, is stored in a room that also is locked, however Harper said the secure box adds more security where only himself and one other person will have a key to access it.