Wood County Commission approves grant applications

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PARKERSBURG, W.Va.-(WTAP) 8/6/2018 5:10 P.M.

Grant applications for two Wood County departments were approved Monday by the county commission.

One is for new voting machines, expected to be in use in time for the 2020 elections.

The grant money through the West Virginia Secretary of State's office, originates from federal "Help America Vote Act" funds.

The new machines, estimated to cost $1.5 million, would replace the current 12-year old machines now in use.

"Going from the paper ballot to the Ivotronic screen was a big jump," noted County Clerk Mark Rhodes. "We did a lot of community education on that. This is not quite as big, but it is a little different. Instead of the printer on the side as you vote, once you cast your ballot, it actually prints it out so you can see it."

The commission also approved a grant agreement and right-of-way for construction of a new communication tower for the 911 center.

It will be located on land near route 68, to be donated by Chemours.


One and a half million dollars-what Wood County will have to pay for new voting machines.

The county clerk's office is considering grant money to help pay for the new equipment, but the county likely will have to provide matching funds.

In the meantime, it's also looking into consolidating precincts whose voters cast ballots at the same location; something that would happen when the new machines arrive.

"Super precincts," as County Clerk Mark Rhodes called them; "(that) means we'll have to count a lot more ballots. But with this system, there's no cancellations. Because it only puts your final choices down, so it will be easier to do the canvass."

Wood County has up to two months to apply for the grants.

How much of the grand money the county will have to match, depends on how many other West Virginia counties apply as well.