Cerro Gordo County is the first to get a reimbursement check from the state for upgrading its voting machines under the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Iowa’s HAVA coordinator Steve Mandernach presented a the Cerro Gordo County auditor and the board of supervisors a check for 228-thousand-600 dollars Tuesday in Mason City. Mandernach says Cerro Gordo County is way ahead of everybody else in the state when it comes to updating voting equipment. He says Cerro Gordo took a risk and went ahead and ordered new equipment before the equipment was HAVA certified and put a safety net in their contract in case the equipment wasn’t certified. Mandernach says it’s good to get the first county on board. He says Cerro Gordo’s main system has been certified and they’re waiting for one final component to become certified. The county will be getting another 33-thousand-200 dollars in reimbursement to help with the purchase of touch-screen machines using large print, synthetic speech, function keys marked with Braille and earphones, allowing privacy for impaired voters. He says the state and federal funds will cover 74-percent of the upgrades. Mandernach says even with Cerro Gordo County ahead of the pace, the rest of the state is doing well in coming into compliance with the HAVA law. He says right now most of the counties are in the decision-making phase about the type of new equipment they’re going to buy. He says most are waiting final certification of their equipment and more are getting certified each month. Cerro Gordo County’s new election equipment and related technology will cost a total of about 360-thousand dollars.
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