The new electronic voting machines arrived back in February. Then the week of frosty weather arrived. Finally, this week, the Elections Office personnel were able to be trained on how to use the new voting equipment. Jay Rivera, of ESS, was on hand for the training.
It is, in a word – simple!
The user will take a ballot and insert it into the machine which uses a touch screen. The ballot will appear on the screen and you can make your selections easily. It will even allow you make the print larger if needed.
After you have made your selections, it will allow you to review your choices and go back if you have missed one. It will even tell you if you missed a race on the ballot.
Once you are satisfied with your choices, you touch PRINT BALLOT on the screen. Your ballot will print out and you can review it once again.
At this point, you will place your ballot into the Vote Tabulator and it will remain safely in place until it is time to count.
There is a flash drive to keep track of the votes, plus a back up drive in the machine.
In case of a power outage, there is another slot in which your ballot can be placed. But, should a power outage occur, there is two hours worth of generator power available.
This equipment should streamline the voting process and make counting after the election a much easier process. There are portable voting machines available to take to the other voting locations throughout the County.
“We will be holding an ‘Open House’ event on March 31 and April 1 from 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m to allow people to familiarize themselves with the equipment and to see how user friendly it really is,” stated Krystal Valentine, Elections Office Coordinator.
A training will also be held at the Terry County Senior Center at some point prior to the next election in May.
Speaking for myself, I found it very easy to use, and certainly user friendly. However, in light of last year’s election, many people wonder about the security of voting machines.
Valentin stated, “With all the advancements in technology, both good and bad, we need to protect our county’s privacy and rights when it comes to voting. I believe ES&S has a system that will benefit us in continuing this practice for the citizens of Terry County, while giving us the ability to process totals quickly on election night.”
The ES&S website states, “Every time voters head to the polls, they want to know their votes will be accurately counted and protected. At Election Systems & Software, we take extra precautions to ensure our software, hardware and data are well-insulated from harm.
“We don’t just follow industry best practices; we help develop and distribute them through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. From internal protocols to training on every piece of equipment, we go above and beyond what’s required to keep our elections safe.”