The state is preparing to use paper ballots on an emergency basis in the fall 2012 elections in which the presidential race is the top contest. It’s because of an explosion of split precincts in the wake of redrawing of election districts that resulted in 400 one-machine locations. State Elections Commissioner Angie Rogers said the paper ballot would be in play if the locations’ sole machine quits functioning. “This is a way to keep voting going until we can get the machine back up and running or another one delivered. It’s a temporary voting method so voting is not interrupted,” said Rogers.
Rogers said there are plenty of safeguards built into the use of paper ballots with the procedures developed in consultation with clerks of court and registrars of voters. “We have an audit report that commissioners fill out. Whatever goes out comes back in and is accounted for,” Rogers said.
The paper ballot procedure has been implemented via emergency rule so commissioners can be trained by clerks of court in advance of elections, Rogers said. The Secretary of State’s Office puts together the election package for all ballots and they are put in the back of the machine. “We are looking at 16,000 paper ballots,” Rogers said.