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Voting machines unveiled

December 03, 2003|by TARA REILLY

The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday checked out the new touch screen election system that voters in the county's 45 voting precincts will use to cast ballots in the spring.

The commissioners, who huddled around the electronic machine during a meeting, took turns voting for various famous names and voter referendums displayed on the sample ballot.

In an actual election, voters will be given cards to insert into the machine, which will bring up the ballot on the screen. Voters then will be able to touch a box on the screen next to the name of the person for whom they want to vote.

The switch in voting methods is statewide.

Diebold Election Systems representative Chris Hood said one of the reasons the machines will make voting easier for residents is that it allows voters to go back and change their votes before they submit their final ballot.

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A voter will cast their final ballot by clicking on a box that says "Cast Ballot."

The machines are made by Diebold.

Hood said the machines allow a blind person to vote by listening to audio instructions. Ballots can be magnified for better viewing.

The machines reduce the possibility of a voter making an error, Hood said.

"It's really different than what the voters have seen before," Hood said. "They can't over-vote. They can't vote for two presidents. The system won't let them do that."

The Washington County Board of Elections received 488 touch screen machines. As of August, the county had 69,242 registered voters.

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