- Associated Press - Saturday, August 30, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico voters will be casting ballots this November on new machines that have raised concerns among a legislative agency and some county clerks.

The voting machines, which cost nearly $12 million to buy and set up, will make their debut in the Nov. 4 general election, the Albuquerque Journal reported Friday (https://bit.ly/1lo2qWS ). Clerks in all 33 counties have been thoroughly trained in their use, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

“Our office is confident that there is an adequate plan in place for election night,” Ken Ortiz, the secretary of state’s chief of staff, said in an email.

But a Legislative Finance Committee report released earlier this month questioned relying on the Colorado-based vendor to oversee and fix the voting tabulators, more than 1,700 of which have been distributed across the state. Secretary of State Dianna Duran had not outlined a risk management plan for dealing with any problems that may arise, the committee said in the report.

In a written response, Duran said her office has made several improvements in the last few years in preparation for the transition to the machines.

Daniel Ivey-Soto, executive director of the New Mexico County Clerks Affiliate, said some clerks are concerned about the timing of the machines’ debut.

“I think the apprehension a lot of clerks have is that this is being rolled out between the primary and general (elections),” said Ivey-Soto, who is also a state senator.

But, he noted, some clerks said the machines that got a tryout in some counties during the June primary were received positively.

The state will be using four different models of the machines. Each county received a certain number based on their requests and the kind of polling places they have, Ortiz said. Voters will feed their paper ballots into the machines, which have bigger screens to make it easier to tell if a ballot was successfully submitted.

The devices are part of an effort by the state to update election technology.

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, https://www.abqjournal.com

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