New voting machines ready: Mercer County to use 162 new voting machines for first time on May 14


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — Unfamiliar quickly became familiar Friday when county officials and the public tried out the new voting machines that will be stationed at Mercer County's polling places for the May 14 Primary Election.

The public and members of the Mercer County Commission tried out several of the county's 162 new ExpressVote voting machines. Other new equipment includes 52 DS200 vote scanners which tabulate votes.

County Clerk Verlin Moye said the new voting machines and vote scanners were purchased last year with a pair of federal grants backed up with a county matching grant.

"There were two grants that we applied for and received. One was the ARP (American Rescue Plan) grant and then the other was the Help America Vote Act grant that we were able to secure. The county only had to put up about $200,000 out of $900,000, so that was a great thing."

Moye said the new machines were ready to be used for the first time in Mercer County.

"In this county, yes, but they've been used in other counties for probably two to three years," Moye said. "At least three years, so all the bugs have been gotten out of them."

These preparations include all the programing needed for the 2024 Primary Election, he said.

"We've got them installed and tested and cleared and programed now with the new election definition for the 2024 Primary, " Moye said. "And this is a public test to demonstrate their integrity. It's a nice system, really. State of the art, the latest and the greatest, and every county in the state has these. It's a testimony to how we do elections in the state."

County Commission President Bill Archer tried the new machines for the first time along with Commissioners Gene Buckner and Greg Puckett.

"I think it's going to be great," Buckner said after trying a new voting machine for the first time. "It's hard to make a mistake and there's no way you can pick somebody that you didn't want. You can go back and change it. Anything you do, you can make changes to correct it."

Archer said he was sure voters will like the new machines after they try them.

"It's different from previously, but it's going to be much better for accuracy and voter confidence," Archer said.

One member of the public used one of the machines more than once and said he liked the results.

"It's easy. It's really easy," said Skip Crane of Bluewell, adding the machines have features such as letting users know if they unwittingly skipped a candidate they wanted to vote for.

"If you miss one, it tells you," Crane said. "Then it prints out a ballot and you can hold it in your hand. It's wonderful."

Voters can then hand their printed ballots to poll workers and watch while that ballot is scanned and counted, he said.

"This is a godsend for our county," Crane added.

Voters will use the new machines on Tuesday May 14.

— Contact Greg Jordan at

Contact Greg Jordan at