New voting machines purchased
Published 9:38 pm Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Voters will see new voting machines at the polls this November, and an opportunity to preview the machines and learn how they work is coming up next week.
“I really want to reach out to as many people as possible,” said voter registrar Susan Saunders. “My main object to this is to let the voters know to be informed of the new equipment.”
The new system, called the Imagecast Evolution Optical Scan Voting Machine, features a ballot scanner, which will scan paper ballots, create a digital image of them and automatically tally results. It also collects the paper ballots in a bin below the scanner to leave a “paper trail.”
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Voters will mark their ballots at private booths by filling in an oval next to their choice. Saunders said completely filling in the oval is important — using an X or a check mark or circling the name of the candidate won’t do.
The machines also allow voters with various disabilities to cast a vote using an audio system.
Voters in Driver, King’s Fork and Kilby’s Mill precincts have previously used a similar system manufactured by a different company, Saunders said.
The city’s previous voting equipment was purchased in 1994 and had an expected useful life of 20 years.
“This isn’t a frivolous purchase,” Saunders said. The new system cost $259,200.
The new machines will be on display at City Hall, 442 W. Washington St., on Sept. 22-24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day. Staff from the registrar’s office will be available to answer questions about the machines. In addition, staff will be able to collect photographs and signatures of voters who wish to receive a free voter photo identification. Photo ID is now required for voting, and voters who do not have another form of photo ID — such as a driver’s license or military ID — can get the free one from the voter registrar.
A video demonstrating the use of the new machines also is available on the city’s cable channel, 190.
Absentee voting for the November election begins Friday. All 140 seats in the General Assembly are up for election. Suffolk voters also will see an uncontested special election for the Commissioner of the Revenue as well as two candidates for the Peanut Soil and Water Conservation District directors.