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Jefferson County hopes new voting machines will speed process

Demonstration planned today in Bardane, W.Va.

Demonstration planned today in Bardane, W.Va.

April 02, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- The county's top election official said Tuesday she hopes new tabulating equipment available for next month's primary election will greatly speed up vote counting and avoid long election result delays seen in the 2006 general election.

While officials in Berkeley and Morgan counties were able to finish their tabulating before midnight in the 2006 November general election, it took Jefferson County officials until 5 a.m. to complete their work.

County officials said at the time that the machine that counted votes appeared to be operating slowly and Jefferson County Clerk Jennifer Maghan said the problems were made worse by an inexperienced technical assistant.

The county government now has 33 M100 machines that Maghan hopes will eliminate any slow tabulating in the May 13 primary election.

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Ballots fed into the M100 at each precinct will record the votes onto a data card, Maghan said. The data card will be taken to the Jefferson County Courthouse, where the information will be blended with running vote totals "within seconds," Maghan said.

"What we're hoping is that we will be home by the 11 p.m. news," Maghan said.

At the precincts, voters will be able to fill out a paper ballot or use a touch-screen voting machine, Maghan said.

The voters' selections then will be recorded by the M100, which Maghan refers to as the "smart ballot box."

When a voter takes a ballot to a poll worker, the poll worker will send the ballot through a M100 machine, Maghan said.

Besides tabulating votes from the ballot, the M100 also will notify the voter if that person has undervoted or overvoted for a race, Maghan said.

The public will get a chance to see how the M100 works during a demonstration today in Bardane, W.Va.

During a "Lunch and Learn with the County Clerk" presentation, members of the public are invited to bring their own lunch to the Hamilton Building in the Burr Industrial Park along W.Va. 9 to see the new voting operations.

If you go



What: Jefferson County's new M100 vote tabulating machines. The public can view the machines during a "Lunch and Learn with the County Clerk."

When: Today, noon to 1:30 p.m.

Where: The Hamilton Building in the Burr Industrial Park along W.Va. 9 in Bardane. Turn off W.Va. 9 at Shamrock Lighting and go through the stop sign toward the Hamilton Building. The demonstration is in the last building on the right.

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