'We want to get it right': Early voting begins in Madison County

Madison County Judge Executive Reagan Taylor announced this week Madison County is the recipient of a $547,442 grant from the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL).

The grant's purpose is to improve the election process by making voting as accessible as possible for all citizens.

At Tuesday's Fiscal Court meeting, County Clerk Kenny Barger said this investment in voting equipment would help make the election process more efficient and safe.

"What this has enabled us to do, is go to an all-express vote in the county and no pre-printed ballots," he said.

Judge Executive Reagan Taylor and Barger worked together and determined the best use of this money — which was mandated to go toward election expenses — was to purchase additional ExpressVote machines for the County. The Madison County Clerk’s Office piloted the ExpressVote during the 2020 election cycle with great success.

The grant will fund 120 ExpressVote machines, 47 card printers, and 40 QuadExpress carts. ExpressVote machines have great benefit for both the county and voters, Barger indicated.

Benefits include, but are not limited to:

• Reducing the amount of paper ballots by 70%.

• Reducing 100-man hours in moving ballots from locations before, during and after Election Day.

• Reducing the number of precinct officers required on election day.

• Reducing staff time in ballot design and maintenance.

• Proving easier access for the elderly and disabled citizens when using voting machines.

Barger said Madison County would be the first county to employ such technology.

"We will be on the front edge of the most convenient and secure voting process in the state of Kentucky after we do this," he said Tuesday. "It is something I have wanted and worked hard for since the day I got here and saw the equipment we have."

Additionally, Barger said the machines will be paid for at no cost to the county.

"It's no cost to us," he said. "It's no match, and no strings attached."

“Our county is truly blessed to have a statewide leader in elections with County Clerk Kenny Barger,” Taylor said. “Not only does he and his team work diligently to ensure the safest and most secure elections, but he also is committed to finding new ways to make elections more cost effective."

With no elections slated for 2021, Barger will be bringing the machines to events and civic meetings across the county to enable citizens to become acquainted with the equipment.

Other business:

• The fiscal court approved the first reading of a zone change at 2761 and 2725 Lexington Road from UC7 (agricultural) to UC3 (neighborhood business) with no opposition.

• Drew Alexander and Shannon Pennington were appointed to the Planning Commission Board.

• Willie Willis was reappointed as the Road Department Supervisor.

• Steve Tussey was reappointed to the Madison County Airport Board.

The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 12, 2021 at 9:30 a.m.

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