Archive for Tuesday, June 13, 2006

New voting machines improve poll position

County expects to see speedier returns

June 13, 2006


Coming soon to a polling station near you: one of Douglas County's new voting machines.

A total of 160 machines were delivered last month, and soon some of them will be taken to libraries, senior citizen centers and other locations for demonstrations how they work, County Clerk Jamie Shew said.

"I think the more we have, people interact with them the better," Shew said.

Your average voter won't notice too much difference from the way they've voted in the past, Shew said.

Training for staff that will be working with the machines will begin soon, Shew said. A demonstration machine for the public will be set up outside the clerk's office on the first floor of the Douglas County Courthouse once a test ballot has been received, Shew said.

Voters still will mark paper ballots, just like before. But after that, the ballot is dropped into a machine that will check the ballot to make sure there are no mistakes, such as voting for too many candidates. If a mistake is found, the machine will alert the voter on a screen, and the voter will have a chance to make a correction.

Jamie Shew, Douglas County clerk, displays the two styles of new computerized voting machines. Eighty of each machine will be tested and ready to put into use for the Aug. 1 elections.

Jamie Shew, Douglas County clerk, displays the two styles of new computerized voting machines. Eighty of each machine will be tested and ready to put into use for the Aug. 1 elections.

The machine that takes in the ballots also will count them. At the end of the day, a data collection device will be taken to the courthouse and added to the final results tally. The voting data is automatically saved in case there is a power outage, Shew said.

"It doesn't really change the method of voting; it changes the way it is tabulated," Shew said.

The change in tabulation method also should speed up considerably the process of obtaining the final voting results, Shew said. In past years, Douglas County has been among the slower of the large Kansas counties at tabulating voting results.

A second voting machine will be used by voters with handicaps. Someone who is paralyzed will be able to use the "sip-puff" tube on the machine to mark a ballot. In the past, some people with disabilities needed someone to go into the booth with them to help them vote.

"People who have never been able to vote without assistance will have that available now," Shew said.

The machines were purchased for about $821,000 from Election Systems & Software Inc. of Omaha, Neb. County commissioners initially approved the purchase for $855,000, but the price was negotiated down and the old machines were traded in, Shew said. The federal government provided $460,000 to help pay the cost.

The county has 67 precincts, but extra machines were purchased as backups in case of breakdowns and because the county is expected to continue to grow in population, Shew said. One type of machines purchased is the Model 100 Precinct Ballot Counter, and the other is the AutoMark Voter Assist Terminal. A total of 80 of each type of machine was purchased.

The machines will be used for the first time in the Aug. 1 primary election and again in the Nov. 7 general election. The county clerk's staff and polling place workers will be trained over the next several weeks to work with the machines. Shew said he plans to have "field experts" trained to go to precincts to solve problems should they develop on election day.

The new machines were purchased so the county will be in compliance with requirements of the federal Help America Vote Act.


gccs14r 11 years, 11 months ago

ES&S is being sued for fraud and election tampering and we buy their equipment anyway? Who recommended them? What, exactly, was wrong with the old way?

gccs14r 11 years, 11 months ago

A Yahoo! search for ES&S is an eye-opener.

fletch 11 years, 11 months ago

Did you even read the article? You still have a paper ballot. This machine just checks your ballot for errors and then counts it. What do you think is counting those scantron ballots we already use? Monkeys?

Richie Kennedy 11 years, 11 months ago

The "old" election system was also an ES&S system. The biggest reason, I think, the county went with it was because the system will be, for the most part, seamless to the end user (the voter)

Yes, there will be paper ballots. The only difference is that the system will tally the votes on-site, rather then waiting for the polls to close.

gccs14r 11 years, 11 months ago

You mean they'll be tallied in Omaha and they'll tell us who won....

KsTwister 11 years, 11 months ago

Fletch for your information the State of Kansas has proposed that the new voting machines produce a paper trail. This bill has yet to be passed but you trust anything you wish, that's your right...........just not mine.

Diana Lee 11 years, 11 months ago

As it says in the article, gccs14r, the new machines were purchased to comply with the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA).

fletch 11 years, 11 months ago

The government can't even keep a secret about the President getting a blowjob in his office. If there was really a wide-spread conspiracy to defraud voters by rigging electronic elections, somebody somehwere would say something about it for no other reason than the book deal + talk show circuit would make them a multimillionaire. I'm fine with electronic voting.

gccs14r 11 years, 11 months ago


You really think the HAVA has anything to with getting an accurate vote? You have more faith in the criminals in the White House than I do. Actually, that's not true, but our expectations appear to differ. I have history on my side, though.

xenophonschild 11 years, 11 months ago

Don't trust the damn things, period. Liberal Democrats have been cheated out of two election (Gore 2000, Kerry 2004) and the results have been disastrous for the country . . . and our society.

The only way Republican crooks can keep their offices is if they cheat at the ballot box . . . or the Governor's (brother) office . . . or the Supreme Court.

A liberal Democrat (hopefully, Hillary and William the Great) will have to win 55% of the popular and electoral college vote to make the Republican thieving liars accept the inevitable.

We don't want the same kind of subterfuge in our beloved Kansas, particularly since Kathleen is going to win by a landslide, and that slimy maggot Kline is going to be shown the door by a real prosecutor.

Just like to share these thoughts with you.

gccs14r 11 years, 11 months ago

"A liberal Democrat (hopefully, Hillary and William the Great) will have to win 55%..."

You misspelled 85%. That's what it'll take to overwhelm the vote-stealing software.

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