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State elections chief: No cheap deals for touchscreens

Secretary of State Kurt Browning on Tuesday gave lawmakers an update on switching Florida's voting system from touchscreen machines to optical scan machines in time for the 2008 elections. Browning told them as counties get rid of the old machines that he has set up some guidelines for how the 28,000 machines will be disposed.

Browning said he won't sell them cheaply, saying he recently rebuffed an offer from Sequoia Voting Systems to buy back their current touchscreen machines for $1 per machine. "I laughed them out of my office,'' he said.

But Browning also said that the state will not sell the machines to individuals and instead will only sell them to legitimate manufacturers who want to resell them or recycle part of the parts. He said that's because the machines will continued to be used in some capacity in both Florida and other parts of the nation. Florida will continue to let disabled voters use touchscreen machines until 2012.

"The machines will be disposed of in a secure manner,'' he said.

He also said that the state will try to sell the machines from the counties _ including Broward and Miami-Dade _ that still owe money for the touchscreen machines they previously purchased. Six counties still owe approximately $33 million for their touchscreen machines. Florida is spending $28 million to buy new optical scan machines.

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