New voting machines will be in place for fall elections. The Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the purchase of a new stand alone central scanner, for counting absentee ballots, and 45 precinct vote scanners. The equipment will be purchased from Election Systems and Software at a cost of $322,750. The company demonstrated their latest equipment for the board June 18. Representatives of the company told the board the new equipment takes a lot of the stress away from poll workers, because it is so easy to use. The new central scanner, a DS850, is supposed to make counting absentee ballots easier. The current M650 scanner can scan equally as fast, if there were no voting variables, but the problem with the machine is that it stops every time there is an anomaly, such as an over vote – voting for more than one candidate in a given position – or write-in vote.
The new machine acknowledges those different possibilities, but continues to count and automatically sorts the chosen differences out.
Kristi Everett, deputy Pottawattamie County auditor of elections, said another difference between the machines that will really save time is the ability of the new equipment to better sort folded ballots.
During the demonstration, the M650 jammed numerous times as folded ballots were sent through, but the DS850 made quick work of a large stack.
County Auditor Marilyn Drake said the new equipment will be a welcomed addition. “It will make our headaches so much less,” she said.