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Saugus replaces voting equipment leading up to fall election

SAUGUS — When ballots are cast in November, they will be counted using new voting equipment. The new machines will replace tabulators that are more than 20 years old.

“This new voting equipment will be easier to use for the poll workers, better, and more efficient for the Saugus voters,” said Board of Selectmen chairwoman Debra Panetta. “Our votes are very important, so we want to have the best technology and it was clearly something that was needed.”

The Board of Selectmen discontinued the old machines Wednesday, and voted to replace them with updated technology.

Saugus will spend $55,000 to roll out 11 new machines, one for each of its 10 precincts and one spare. The purchase includes cases, cords, memory cards, paper rolls, security seals, and black boxes for the machines, according to Town Clerk Ellen Schena.

Town Meeting approved the expense as part of a capital improvement plan in 2016. Schena solicited quotes from the two companies approved by the Elections Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth to manufacture machines used in Massachusetts elections. Each firm performed a demonstration for the Board of Registrars, elections workers, and the clerk’s office.

Schena settled on a $5,000 ImageCast Precinct machine, which is manufactured by New England-based LHS Associates, Inc.

The new machines are lightweight and simple to use, said Panetta.

“The company is based out of New Hampshire, and according to our town clerk, they have very good customer service,” said Panetta. “That’s really important.”

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