MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Election Commission picked new voting machines for the county but has not released the name of company who will be supplying them.
An attorney for the Shelby County Election Commission explained they can’t publicly disclose the three companies who were vying to replace the county’s voting machines until Mayor Lee Harris signs a letter of intent.
Thursday night’s virtual meeting vote was needed before that could happen.
“Puts the election commission into something of a bind,” Shelby County Election Commission attorney John Ryder said.
There were no names or no price tags for rival bids as Shelby County Elections Administrator Linda Phillips made the case for electronic ballot voting machines of “Company 1.”
“The actual alternatives from which the election commission should be choosing have been kept secret,” University of Memphis law professor Steve Mulroy said.
Instead, all we heard was how “Company 1” was asking for $5.1 million upfront for their electronic ballot machines versus the $3.1 million they’d need for paper ballots.
Phillips argued electronic ballots would save taxpayers $9 million in the long run and would potentially be safer.
“I think it’s more likely that a helpful poll worker would fill in some ovals than someone would hack into our system,” Phillips said.
Once the new machines are ordered, election commission officials said they would prefer to roll it out in August so that people can get adjusted before the November election.