Carlton County to purchase extra ballot counting machines

The Carlton County auditor was granted permission to purchase two additional machines to help with the expected influx of absentee and mail ballots in November.

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The Carlton County Board of Commissioners voted to approve the purchase of two new ballot counting machines due to the increase in absentee voting during the pandemic.

Carlton County Auditor/Treasurer Kathy Kortuem asked for permission to purchase two machines to handle the expected increase in absentee and mail in ballots for the general election Nov. 3.

She said they currently have two machines. Adding two more machines will help upload the results faster, as well as provide a backup in case one of the machines breaks.

“If one of them goes down, we are doomed,” Kortuem said.

The machines cost an estimated $5,000 to $5,500 each.


The county saw a significant increase in absentee and mail voting during the August primary, Kortuem previously told the Pine Journal. Officials sent out 6,036 ballots for the Aug. 11 election, compared to 2,604 during the 2018 primary.

District 2 commissioner and board chair Marv Bodie asked Kortuem if she will be using any of the $1,600 state election grant money the county received to help cover some of the costs.

“We expect that these machines will be paid for with CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) grant dollars, as the increase in absentee balloting is driving the request,” said Kortuem.

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