Polk County’s Election Commission is continuing to look at new voting machines. At a meeting last Thursday, they heard a presentation from Dominion Voting Sytems. Mike Beckstram of Dominion showed the commission a paper-based digital optical scan system. He said the system was currently being used in Hamilton County, but the company served voting needs all over the country and was the oldest company in the US and had more than 100,000 units in the field. According to Beckstram, once a voter has marked their ballot, it is scanned into a reader. The reader stores the scanned images, which can be compared to the hard copy if questions are ever raised. If chosen, this system will also alert voters if they have missed any categories or if their vote was not read, enabling them to have a second chance if a mistake was made. Beckstram said the machine would not accept an ambiguous vote, and the commission could set the machines so that a certain percentage of the circle would have to be filled out in order for the machine to read it. If the machine cannot read the mark it will alert the voter.
The paper ballots for the system can be printed through most any printing service, which would get the ballot paper from Dominion. The machines recognize the paper being used, making it impossible for copies of ballots to be made and fed though the machines. The machines can be set up to accept specific ballots for different precincts.
Mac York asked how they could ensure no one got their hands on the actual ballots. Beckstram said that accountability issues would be their responsibility, but that using the ballot numbers would enable them to know how many ballots were supposed to be run through the machine versus how many actually went through the machine.
Freeman Curbow said he had seen the system being used by Hamilton County and asked about the bins used to store the paper ballots once they have been run through the machine. He said they did not have the ability to store multiple storage boxes and wondered about the ability to transport them. Beckstram said they had some that were stackable as well as collapsable.
Election Administrator Steve Gaddis said $10,000 has been allotted for each precinct by the state to replace machines. He said he was uncertain if that included training, of if it was equipment only. Polk County would need 15 units.
Full Article: Polk County News.