When Alexandria voters turn up at the polls Tuesday, many are going to confront old-school technology — paper ballots. Thanks to activists who objected to electronic voting machines because they did not provide a paper trail and because they feared hacking, the Virginia General Assembly in 2007 banned local governments from buying touch-screen machines when it came time to replace existing electronic systems. Now that time has come. Voters will be using a new eScan system, which requires voters to mark their paper ballots with blue or black ink in the polling booth and then line up to scan the ballots themselves into a machine. The votes will be recorded electronically.
“I’ve been an election official for 28 years, and I know whenever we change anything, we get complaints,” said Tom Parkins, the city’s registrar. But Parkins doesn’t think the new system will slow down the process of voting. If a ballot is put in crooked or if someone has voted for too many candidates in a particular race, the scanner will kick the ballot back out and the voter will be asked to try it again.
Other jurisdictions, such as Fairfax County, began using similar equipment in 2008. But anyone who has watched first-time users try to operate any new technology might have doubts about how seamless the process will be.
Full Article: Paper ballots return to Alexandria – The Washington Post.