County reimbursed for voting machines

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Alabama Secretary of State&8217;s office will reimburse Shelby County some $310,000 this week for 50 new handicapped-accessible voting machines.

The county commission bought the machines back in January in order to be compliant with the 2002 Help America Vote Act, or HAVA.

The federal law changed state election rules in several ways, including requiring a &8220;paper trail&8221; in case of a recount and improvements to help disabled people vote.

The U.S. government gave Alabama $21 million to reimburse counties for any voting machine upgrades that were needed to ensure compliance by the Nov. 7 election.

The state determined that Shelby County needed special &8220;touch screen&8221; voting machines in all 51 precincts.

The AutoMark 8700 machines cost roughly $6,000 per model and makes voting easier for disabled residents, according to county Financial Director Butch Burbage.

Most counties have already received their state reimbursement checks.

However, Shelby County&8217;s money was delayed because Probate Judge Patricia Fuhrmeister thought some of the precincts were not complaint with the Americans With Disabilities Act. She delayed sending the application to the state until attorney Butch Ellis ensured ADA compliance.

Shelby County is one of only three Alabama counties not yet to be repayed. Walker County also had issues with the Americans With Disabilities Act, while Talladega was late in filing paperwork, according Sec. of State Nancy Worley