Douglas County voters will continue to rely on paper ballots to elect their leaders, county commissioners tentatively decided today.
Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew recommended that commissioners purchase new vote counting equipment to be in place by next August's election to meet federal requirements that are part of the Help America Vote Act. But Shew said he could not recommend a system that would solely rely on touchscreen voting and produce only electronic results.
Instead, voters will continue to mark paper ballots with a pencil like they have for years. But instead of all the ballots being scanned at the County Courthouse, there will be scanners at each polling place. Voters will place the ballot in the scanner. The scanner will alert voters if they mismarked a ballot - such as voting for two people for one position - and allow them to cast a second chance ballot. The system also includes special machines that will allow people with disabilities to vote without assistance from a poll worker.
Commissioners are scheduled to give final approval to the system at their Wednesday evening meeting. The system will cost $855,514. The state, through federal funding, is providing $460,000. The county over the past several years has created a reserve fund that has accumulated enough money to cover the remaining costs.