"Buying election equipment is a county responsibility." Jared Dearing, Executive Director for the State Board of Elections
According to Jared Dearing, the Executive Director of Kentucky’s State Board of Elections, in an effort to help precincts operate in light of the present world-wide pandemic, offered to pay for two-thirds of the cost new voting equipment for Breathitt County provided the Fiscal Court would pay the remaining third. The Fiscal Court has refused to do this.
In a phone interview with the Times-Voice, we were able to speak to Mr. Dearing. Mr. Dearing told the newspaper, “This is a county responsibility to pay for and provide precincts with election equipment. According to records I have seen, the last time Breathitt purchased equipment, it was purchased with federal funds. Technically, Breathitt County hasn’t had to purchase election equipment in several decades.”
In asking Kentucky’s Executive Director of the State Board of Elections the meaning of the Fiscal Court’s failure, he told the Times-Voice, “It means the county clerk will have to limit her precincts to the number of precincts for which she has the resources on hand to fund.” When asked if the Breathitt Fiscal Court’s voting not to fund the one-third of the cost of election equipment was unusual, Mr. Dearing said, “Most all of the counties with which I have worked and offered to fund the two-thirds of the cost of the equipment have jumped on funding the other third.”
Becky Curtis, Breathitt’s county clerk told the Times-Voice, “I have requested funding from the Fiscal Court for the one-third of the cost to enable our getting the State Board of Elections to provide the other two-thirds. The Fiscal Court flatly rejected the request.” We asked her what would this mean for the coming November elections. She told us, “I will have to close many precincts, many constituents will have to travel significant distances to vote, and I will have to operate multiple precincts out of single voting machines.”
Executive Director Dearing is very sympathetic to Curtis’ dilemma. He told the Times-Voice, “Your county clerk has worked diligently with us to get this done and to procure the equipment needed for an effective election.”