Orange County will be getting new voting machines in time for the November general election. The Commissioners Court approved the purchase Tuesday at the request of Election Administrator Tina Barrow.
Most of the current voting machines are more than 13 years old, are not suited for election software, and have no security measures built in them to prevent voter fraud according to Barrow. The new voting machines will be much more secure.
County Judge Dean Crooks pointed out this will not fulfill all the voting needs of the county and more machines will need to be purchased later. The purchase of 36 express vote machines will be made over a three-year period at $37,123.28 annually. Further the county will buy 38 poll books for $57,190.
It will be next week before seven county employees are appointed to serve on the Grievance Committee at the Courthouse. The previous committee was appointed in December 2015, and the terms of all the members have since expired.
Human Resource Director Lori Ardoin will solicit in emails volunteers who would like to serve on the committee. The Commissioners will then choose seven employees from those volunteering to serve on the committee.
Initially about half will serve one-year terms and the remainder will serve two-year terms. Next year replacements will be named to replace those that had one-year terms, and those members of the committee will also be given two-year terms.
Emergency Management Coordinator Joel Ardoin said the county has been picking up two to three loads of storm debris a day. Since February 20 over 13,000 cubic yards of debris has been collected. Ardoin pointed to July 25 as the expected date for completion of debris pickup. He encourages all citizens to have their properties cleaned out of storm debris and to contact the Emergency Management Office to be put on the list for the debris to be removed.
The Commissioners Court approved James Brown as the county’s candidate for the Board of Directors of the Orange County Appraisal District. Brown thanked the Court for its support and said he has been associated with Sheriff Keith Merritt and Justice of the Peace Hershel Stagner, Junior for many years. A replacement is needed to replace Hughie Allen who is leaving the appraisal district.
The Commissioners approved Orange County notifying the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission that it intends to be part of the Buy-Out/Acquisition Program. The Texas General Land Office is conducting the program to help get property back on the tax rolls that were rebuilt post disasters like after Harvey.
June was recognized as Gift of Life Men’s Health Month. A proclamation was read, and the date of June 30 was announced as the annual time for free screenings and other health opportunities for eligible men. The screenings will be done at the West Orange-Stark High School on Saturday morning, June 30.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-