2010-10-15 / Top Stories

New Voting Machine Changes Continue On Election Day

Even if you’ve been voting in elections for decades, this year’s experience will be entirely new, Board of Elections officials point out.

For the November 2 general election, voters will not be entering the familiar voting booth and pulling a lever for their favorite candidates. This year, voters will be utilizing an optical scanning system for the first time, and that will take some getting used to, especially for those voters who are technology-challenged.

The first step in the voting process will be familiar to all voters – going to a polling site and checking in with the poll workers.

At that point, voters will be presented with a paper ballot and a privacy sleeve. They will then go to one of the privacy booths scattered around the polling site and mark their paper ballot by completely darkening the oval next to their choice, using only the pen provided by the poll worker.

Voters are urged not to use a checkmark or an X in the oval space provided on the ballot. The oval must be completely filled in if the vote is to count.

Voters will then take their paper ballot (do not fold, spindle or mutilate) to an optical scanner at the scanner area.

Select the language of your choice by touching the corresponding button on the screen. Insert the marked ballot into the scanner as directed to cast your vote. Once your paper ballot has moved through the scanner, the voter is done.

Officials say that the new system of both paper ballots and digital scanning was made necessary by the legislature’s demand that there be a paper trail for each ballot that can be reviewed should there be a problem with the scanning process.

Board of Elections officials say that voting this year under the new system will be “as easy as 1-2-3.” The new system was first used in the September 14 primaries.

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