Investing time or money in counting votes?

Published 7:00 am Friday, June 9, 2017

Tuesday night, results from two municipal elections determined who will lead our county’s cities for the next four years.

To accomplish that task, both cities utilized paper ballots, a primitive but effective way to count votes.

That is, if you have plenty of time to kill. You see, there are two ways to count paper ballots; by hand or with a costly scanner.

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Fortunately for officials within the city of Picayune, only one precinct’s seat was contested and about 50 votes were cast in that race.

But in Poplarville, unlike Picayune’s form of government the Board of Aldermen are at large, it was a different story counting those votes.

In that election, about 500 votes were cast, and all 500 had to be counted by hand. While Picayune’s results were determined in 30 minutes, results from Poplarville’s election took three hours.

But there’s a better way. Ten years ago, our county bought more than 100 touch screen voting machines.

They can be programmed to handle the most complex of races, even those where ballots change according to where

an individual lives.

Additionally, these devices are capable of counting votes faster than any human.

With this in mind, someone might ask, why not use these efficient devices for all elections, large and small?

Well, the argument is expense. Cities have to pay for the use of the machines to cover the cost of election commissioners or technicians who will have to program them.

Sure, there’s an expense. But factor the expense of time, and it may just be worth working out some kind of deal with the county to keep those precious moments in life.

There’s a reason people pay other people to cut their grass, fix their cars and cook their dinners.

It frees up more time for that person to handle all the other things going on in the world.