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Electronic Voting is User-friendly

Posted on Friday, January 19, 2018 at 11:44 am

James Sanders, Moore County Election Commission Administrator, demonstrates Moore County’s new electronic voting machines. The machines are now in use for early voting in the TN 14th Senate District Special Election. Not only do the machines save the county money, they also provide very accurate ballot counting.

The Moore County Election Commission has deployed new electronic voting machines, replacing the first round of electronic machines installed several years ago. The 4,795 registered voters in Moore County began utilizing the new machines during early voting for the Senate Primary Election. Joe Carr and Shane Reeves are vying for the Republican Nomination and Gayle Jordon is running unopposed for the Democratic Nomination for the unexpired term for the 14th District State Senate Office vacated by Jim Tracy. Election Day is January 25th. The change cost $60,000, but the Moore County Election Commission say it was a necessary investment. “This is a good time for the election team to change equipment where we have to learn new procedures. The new equipment is easier to set up, lighter to move and has security to make sure votes on election night are not counted twice. No voter that has used the new system has gone away saying, “Bring the old system back, I liked it better,” instead they are saying just the opposite, that they like it a whole lot better,” James Sanders, Moore County Election Commission Administrator, reported. According to Sanders the machines were bought with grant money made up of $58,000 federal dollars and $2,000 state dollars. The new system will also save the county money. The previous system cost the county $3200 to program all the machines for an election. That cost will drop to $1900, thus saving the county $1300 for each election. The county will continue to use the same number of poll workers at the vote centers. The Elections Office said each of the five voting districts are equipped with two ballot marking machines and the commission office houses the ballot counting machine. The new machines are more user friendly, however this new equipment won’t speed up the results process because that still depends on election workers. “Getting election results is not about the speed of it, it’s about the accuracy of it,” Sanders said. “The new system leaves a paper trail that ensures accuracy and provides the data required to execute a recount if necessary.” Electronic Voting Process: The ExpressVote is an electronic vote capture device designed for use by all electors. It features a touchscreen display and integrated thermal printer. Voters insert a blank paper activation card in the machine. This is the ballot. Voters have several options to make candidate selections. They may touch the screen or use the moveable keypad provided. The display includes various colors and effects to guide the voter. The voter may adjust the display contrast and text size in order to read the screen. Each key on the pad has both Braille and printed text labels designed to indicate function and a related shape to help the voter determine its use. Alternatively, voters may also use headphones to hear a recorded list of the instructions and candidates for each contest and then make selections by touching the screen. The machine provides a summary report for the voter to review his or her choices before the ballot is printed. Only the voter’s choices are printed on the ballot. The phrase “No Selection” appears under any contest in which the elector did not vote. Once the ballot has been marked and is provided to the voter, the ExpressVote clears its internal memory and the paper ballot is the only lasting record of the voting selections made. The voter may visually confirm his or her selections, or the ballot may be re-inserted into the machine and the voter selections summary report will provide an audio summary for voters with visual impairments.