When it comes to elections, the pendulum just keeps swinging. With electronic voting equipment nearing the end of this life expectancy, Barton County Election Officer Donna Zimmerman is eyeing the future and sees a need for a change. This change could include a return to the old-school paper ballots. With such an evolution on the horizon, Zimmerman hosted a voting equipment demonstration in the Barton County Courthouse Thursday morning. Kansas county clerks and election officials joined her staff for the presentations. Participants witnessed demonstrations from multiple voting system manufacturers. ElectionSource of Grand Rapids, Mich., presented Dominion Voting Systems and Henry M. Adkins & Son of Clinton, Mo., presented Unisyn Voting Solutions. “It appears that the trend is to return to paper ballots with equipment only for used by those with disabilities,” Zimmerman said. “This is the yo-yo in elections. It seems really weird that we’re going back to paper ballots,” said Darin DeWitt, Barton County voter registration clerk. “It’s like two steps backward.” DeWitt and Zimmerman were among the handful of election officials huddled around the pricey new equipment in the Barton County Commission chambers to hear the sales pitch for from ElectionSource.
Computers, scanners, readers, screens and other devices were scattered about the room. “I have a lot of conspiracy theorists who believe voting machines are rigged,” said Sarah Rains, Hodgeman County Clerk. Voters may be more apt to trust hardcopy ballots. Despite how the votes are cast, they ultimately get scanned and saved digitally for tabulation.
The machines being demonstrated also had options for screens and headphones to accommodate voters with vision and hearing impairments. There were also a variety of options that would impact the price. It was possible, sales reps said, to tailor the equipment to each county’s specific needs and demographics.
Barton County has used a voting system from Omaha, Neb.-based Election Systems & Software for nearly a decade. However, the company is no longer manufacturing it, Zimmerman said. “They are still supporting it for the time being, but we will eventually need to buy new equipment.”
Full Article: A PAPER TRAIL.