New national data released Monday indicates that nearly 70 percent of American voters will cast their ballots Tuesday by hand, using paper ballots. According to Verified Voting, an election watchdog, the growing trend of return to paper ballots is due to a “deterioration of voting machines.” KSN News reached out to Sedgwick Co. elections officials to learn more about the use of electronic voting machines locally, as well as in counties across the state, to find out why a majority of counties across the nation are turning back the clock and opting for paper ballots instead. In the 2012 general election, voters in Sedgwick Co. experienced their fair share of blunders at the ballot box. “We do have one polling place that their ballots would not read and this one precinct they would not read on our machines, as well,” said Tabitha Lehman, the Sedgwick Co. Elections Commissioner, in 2012.
Lehman says the electronic voting machines remain an issue today. “We’re replacing a lot of latches to keep the machine open and the printers inside are giving us a lot of fits right now, so we’re just trying to keep everything running,” said Lehman.
Sedgwick County’s current fleet of electronic voting equipment was purchased as early as 2005. The electronic voting machines typically last ten years. “We’re definitely getting to the end of that cycle,” said Lehman. “We have a lot of voters, so we’ve used ours a lot. So, we’re definitely seeing some wear and tear on them.”