Voters could use new machines to cast their ballots as soon as next year.
The county is beginning to shop for new voting machines, which could be purchased by the end of this year and in use by voters starting in 2015.
The state has not certified any new voting machine models that would be approved for use in future elections, but county officials want to start getting information about features and prices early, Johnson County Clerk Sue Ann Misiniec said.
The current voting machines still work and will be used for elections this year, but spare parts no longer are available, she said.
The county will need to order about 250 voting machines instead of replacing about 400 that are owned now. Since the county changed to vote centers in 2012, fewer machines are needed.
Misiniec hasn’t priced any models yet, but voting machines could cost about $2,000 each. The county also might have to buy new software, which would add to the estimated $500,000 expense.
“It will not be a cheap venture. Like it or not, we must provide elections, and we must make certain we have the proper equipment to do that,” she said.
The county last purchased voting machines in 2001. Those machines were destroyed when the Oren Wright building in Franklin flooded in 2008.
The county leased and eventually bought used machines to replace the ones that were damaged, Misiniec said.