With ever-more ballot initiatives in each general election and the need to maintain an electronic voting capability now a part of each election, Hempstead County officials have received some help from the Arkansas County Voting Systems Grant Fund.

With ever-more ballot initiatives in each general election and the need to maintain an electronic voting capability now a part of each election, Hempstead County officials have received some help from the Arkansas County Voting Systems Grant Fund. Hempstead County Clerk Sandra Rodgers announced Tuesday that the county has received a grant from the statewide fund totaling $10,620 for the purchase of new equipment and maintenance hardware for the county's voting machines. With 24 voting precincts in the county requiring at least two machines each, the county has a substantial investment in the electronic voting equipment, Rodgers said. “We've had to buy batteries and some other things for these machines on our own; and, this will help us pay for those kinds of things,” Rodgers said. She said the grant application was written by her office in conjunction with the Hempstead County Elections Commission and Hempstead County Judge Wallace Martin's office. “The grants are the result of legislation passed setting up the County Voting Systems Grand Fund, whereby the secretary of state recently distributed more than $671,000 to most of the state's 75 counties,” Rodgers said. The fund is the result of Act 211 of the 2012 Arkansas General Assembly Fiscal Session, which appropriated $1.5 million for the election equipment upgrades in 2012-2013. Rodgers said the grant will be used to purchase two iVotetronics ballot stations; to replace flash cards for each of the county's machines; and, to replace batteries on the machines. Hempstead County voters cast 6,988 votes, representing 68.8 percent of the 10,151 registered voters in the county, in the 2012 general elections.