22. The only downside for our county is the effort and expense already made for voting machines. [submitted]
Yes, vote by mail would make most electronic voting machines obsolete.
On the other hand, they are expensive to buy, and they require ongoing and expensive maintenance and security. And they must be replaced periodically as technology moves on.
Preston County’s recent experience may be illustrative of the cost for one county. According to the Dominion-Post (12/23/2018), new machines and upgraded security for Preston County cost $680,267, with $356,226 coming from a Homeland Security grant and the remainder being paid by the county over four years, $91,566 per year. An annual maintenance fee adds $24,000 (Dominion-Post, 12/3/2019) over three years. The cost of storage also has been an issue documented in local reports.
Preston County purchased two types of machines – one type for voting, the other for tabulating. To supply 28 polling places, 30 tabulators and 130 voting machines were required.
Under vote by mail, tabulators would be required for the county clerk’s office, and perhaps a few voting machines for voters needing such assistance. The need to supply machines for dozens of polling places would be eliminated.