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Touch-screen machines could be available today in Morgan Co.

May 03, 2006|by TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - The new electronic voting machines could be available for the remainder of early voting in Morgan County because the personalized electronic ballots (PEBs) used with touch-screen machines have arrived.

Morgan County Clerk Debra Kesecker said the PEBs were delivered Tuesday afternoon from Casto & Harris in Spencer, W.Va., who downloaded the primary information to them.

The PEBs store the voting information and the results are tallied from each machine after the May 9 primary polls close, Kesecker said. Early voting began April 19 and is available through Saturday at the courthouse.

Kesecker said she and her staff members planned to load and test the three early-voting machines Tuesday night for use beginning today at the courthouse, "if there is not a problem," she said.

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The remaining 43 Ivotronic touch-screen voting machines for the other 12 precincts will be loaded and tested as soon as possible.

Kesecker said, by law, the voting machines had to be tested by May 2, but the deadline was extended by the West Virginia Secretary of State's office until Monday.

Kesecker said the reason for the delay was Casto & Harris had not received the primary information from the electronic voting machine manufacturer, Electronic Systems & Software, which is providing ballot information for many states.

John Denbigh of Casto & Harris said "ES&S, the Secretary of State, Casto & Harris we are doing everything we can," but when it was mandated by the federal government, it did not consider the enormous task it would be to get touch-screen voting ready for the 2006 election, he said.

She said paper absentee voter ballots have been used for early voting, but not many people have voted early. There were fewer than 1,000 absentee voter ballots on hand, Kesecker said.

All touch-screen voting was unanimously approved by the Morgan County Commission in February.




Primary changes



Morgan County Clerk Debra Kesecker said the rules governing the primary election have changed. The West Virginia Republican Party will allow registered Independent Party members along with those affiliated with no party to vote in the Republican primary. The voters must request a Republican ballot from a poll worker. Otherwise, they will receive a Board of Education nonpartisan ballot only.

Mountain, Green or Libertian Party registered voters may only vote in the nonpartisan board of education race.

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