Georgia election officials are bringing back paper ballots – at least temporarily – in the city of Conyers local election, providing a glimpse of what may one day replace the state’s aging voting machines. The on-loan voting equipment went into action last week in Conyers, a small city just outside of Atlanta, as early voting started for the Nov. 7 election. With the system being used in the pilot program, called the ExpressVote Universal Voting System, voters are issued a paper ballot that they insert into a touch-screen voting machine, prints their choices onto the ballot. Voters can then review their selections on the paper ballot before inserting it into a tabulation machine, which scans the ballots and secures them in a locked box. If there’s a mistake, the voter is issued a new ballot.Full Article: Georgia test drives paper ballots | Local News | valdostadailytimes.com.
A crucial test for the future of Georgia elections begins Monday when early voting opens across the state ahead of the Nov. 7 local and special elections. Voters in Conyers will begin casting paper ballots along with new voting and tabulating machines as they decide on a new mayor and two City Council seats. The pilot program comes as advocates have sued to force the state to dump its aging all-electronic system amid fears of hacking and security breaches. And it could pave the way for the first elections system reboot in Georgia since 2002. “Everything is still on track and we are ready to go,” said Cynthia Welch, the elections supervisor for Rockdale County, which is running the Conyers election. Welch and her team have spent the past several weeks demonstrating the system, including to other local elections officials as well as lawmakers.Full Article: Georgia elections: Voters test paper ballots beginning Monday.
More than a dozen voters have used new paper-ballot voting machines in Conyers with no reported problems, the first step of a new pilot program to test the machines in Georgia. “It’s fair to say we’re excited to get the ball rolling and partner with a good elections office and give voters a preview of what the future of voting may look like,” said Chris Harvey, Georgia’s elections director. “This kind of technology seems to be what a lot of states are going toward,” Harvey added. “This is becoming the new normal.”Full Article: New paper-ballot machines debut in Georgia.
Rockdale Elections Director Cynthia Welch recently held a demonstration showing off the new “paper” ballot voting machines that will be used in the Nov. 7 Conyers municipal elections. Rockdale is the first county in Georgia to pilot the new machines, which will provide voters with a paper ballot they can examine before casting their ballot in a tabulator machine that counts the votes. “If they’re not satisfied with their vote, they can take it to a poll worker and request a new ballot and start all over. Once they are satisfied with their selections, they can cast the ballot in the tabulator,” Welch said.Full Article: “Paper” ballot voting machines unveiled in Rockdale, Georgia’s first pilot – On Common Ground News.
The thin, long piece of paper slides slowly out the voting machine, the internal mechanism guiding it making a sound similar to a copying machine. Printed on it are choices selected during voting, tapped seconds before on an electronic screen attached to the same machine. The piece of paper, in this case a ballot, is then carried to a second machine that electronically tabulates the votes while also dropping the paper into a locked, internal box. “Every vote that’s been cast there is a hard-copy paper record that each voter validated before it was inserted, scanned and tabulated,” said Jeb S. Cameron with Election Systems and Software, a Nebraska-based voting software and election management company that will help Georgia pilot a new paper-ballot voting system in November. That touches on one of the fiercest criticisms Georgia’s current system has received: There’s currently no paper record for most ballots cast in its elections.Full Article: Georgia elections: First look at paper ballot voting machines.
Carson City is getting new voting equipment in time for the 2018 midterm election. Instead of a plastic card, voters will get a bar-coded, paper ballot to insert into the new machines. They will then make choices via a touchscreen, much like the existing system, and when done the machines will print out the inserted paper ballot, which voters can verify and then put into a ballot box, or scanner, to cast their vote. “This is a change, but when I talk to people about the difference they say that it would be so nice to have a paper ballot to drop in the box,” said Susan Merriwether, Carson City clerk-recorder.Full Article: New voting equipment for Carson City | NevadaAppeal.com.
The Sedgwick County Commission is seeking state approval to do voting machine audits regularly. The commission is working to get legislation passed in 2018 that will allow audits of election results. Currently, the state of Kansas does not allow a review of ballots, except as it relates to specific election challenges. Lawmakers failed to pass a bill on election audits last year. Commissioner Jim Howell says there is broad support for the legislation for the upcoming 2018 session. He says Sedgwick County’s new voting machines are designed for audits. “We would like to do random sample auditing across our county, and that would add a lot of transparency and a lot of confidence in our election process, and right now we don’t have that,” Howell says.Full Article: Sedgwick County Commission Wants Election Audit Legislation Passed In 2018 | KMUW.
Georgia for the first time in nearly a decade will pilot the use of paper ballots this November in a local municipal election, the first step toward what officials said could be a statewide switch to a new voting system. Voters in Conyers will use the ballots along with new electronic record, voting and tabulating machines for a Nov. 7 election for mayor and two City Council seats. If all goes as planned, it’s the first time voters — excluding absentee voters — will have cast ballots on a system with a paper component since 2008. Back then, officials attached paper spools for a local election on some of the state’s existing electronic voting machines but decided the process was too cumbersome to proceed.Full Article: Georgia elections: State to pilot paper ballot voting system.
Georgia is getting voting machines that could change how your vote is cast and counted. A spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office would not confirm the details for this story, but we learned there’s about to be a big development that could signal a shift in election equipment. Express Vote machines will get a trial run in the Conyers mayoral race this November. “The pilot program in November addresses some concerns that have been raised about the state’s machines,” says Dr. William Boone, a political science professor at Clark Atlanta University. Rockdale County Elections Director Cynthia Welch told CBS46, “If all goes well, the state will probably ask for legislation where we can test the system statewide.”Full Article: New voting machines could change how your vote is cast - CBS46 News.
The next time we head to the polls, there is a good chance we will cast our ballots on new voting machines. Some of Nevada’s machines have been in use since 2004, spanning more than a dozen elections. “Their expected life-span was about ten years when we got them and we’re already well past that,” Luanne Cutler, Washoe County Registrar of Voters said. There are 6,894 voting machines throughout Nevada’s 17 counties. If the legislature approves funding, the cost could be up to $25,000. “Dominion Voting Systems” and “Elections Systems & Software” are the two companies that the Secretary of State’s Office could buy the new machines from. “The accuracy is very, very important but also the new technology,” Barbara Cegavske, Nevada Secretary of State said. “We’re looking at all of those aspects, all of the new bells and whistles.”Full Article: New Voting Machines Could Be On the Way for Nevada - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video.
Minnesota often leads the nation in voter turnout, but isn’t always on the cutting edge of voting technology. One company wants to change that by convincing lawmakers touch screen voting is the wave of the future. “The Express Vote (machine) is an assisted voting device that can also be used by other voters as well,” said Mike Hoversten of Election Systems and Software. He points out that one machine can be used by voters of all abilities. The Express Vote machine eventually produces a paper ballot, but it’s smaller than the size of the ballot required by state law that is commonly used now. A change in state law would be required for counties to consider using the machine. State Senator Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, a former Minnesota Secretary of State, said such a change is unlikely, at least for now. “Because you have a uniform paper ballot and that is equal treatment of all voters, that’s really important,” Kiffmeyer told 5 Eyewitness News.Full Article: New Push to Change Voting Technology in Minnesota | KSTP.com.
The good news is that voting, as an American tradition, is alive and well. The bad news is that the disenfranchisement of people with disabilities — also a tradition in this country — is, too. I experienced it firsthand last Tuesday in Augusta, Maine, when I attempted to exercise my constitutional right to vote. I am a disability rights attorney who happens to be blind. Neither blindness nor accessible voting systems are new to me: I have been blind since childhood, and I was a driving force in the implementation of the accessible voting system component of the Help America Vote Act in Maine and New Hampshire. On Tuesday, when I went to vote, the problems were immediate: It took two people from the city clerk’s office a half hour to get the accessible voting machine working. Once it was ostensibly functioning, it would not accept my selections on the first try — or the second, third or fourth. In fact, not until my fifth attempt. Did nondisabled voters need to wrestle their paper ballots into compliance like this? Roughly 35 minutes after I had begun voting, my ballot was complete — or so I thought.Full Article: I'm Blind And I Voted. Here's What Went Wrong | Cognoscenti.
Representatives from the Maine secretary of state’s office and Disability Rights Maine were at the Bangor Public Library on Tuesday to spread the word about Maine’s new accessible voting machines. First introduced during the June primary elections, the ExpressVote machines essentially are stand-alone units, each with a video display screen, a built-in ballot printer and attached controllers with colored buttons in various shapes with braille labels. The machines also are equipped with headsets for those who are not able to see or read ballots. “It allows people to vote independently and privately,” Jon Monroe, elections management analyst for the secretary of state’s office, said Tuesday while demonstrating how the machines work.Full Article: New accessible voting machines available at all Maine voting sites — Bangor — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine.
Secretary of State Mark Martin will provide an estimated $2.1 million worth of new voting equipment to five counties, his office announced Tuesday. The five counties are Chicot, Cleveland, Jackson, Randolph and Washington. The counties are scheduled to receive the voting equipment and have it operational for the upcoming school elections in September, the Republican secretary of state said. They will join five other counties for which the state this year purchased new election equipment, at a cost of nearly $3 million. The voting equipment will include new voting machines, tabulating machines and software. The counties will use the Express Vote Universal Voting System, which is a touch-screen machine, said Chris Powell, a spokesman for Martin.Full Article: In 5 counties, ballot systems set for update.
The state has awarded Washington County about $1.2 million of election equipment, said Jennifer Price, election commission coordinator. “We are getting the new voting equipment,” Price said. “We’re excited.” The Quorum Court accepted the equipment during its meeting Thursday. The county put aside $420,000 for the equipment. Election commissioners have said they were worried the state wouldn’t provide equipment in time for the general election Nov. 8, which is expected to have a large voter turnout. The county’s equipment is from 2006 and was starting to break down, Price said.Full Article: State awards Washington County $1.2 million in new voting equipment - Mobile.
Despite fears of a botched debut of Maryland’s new voting machines, state election officials say they received few reports of glitches and voter confusion in Tuesday’s primary. The election marked Maryland’s long-awaited switch to paper ballots tallied by scanner, nearly a decade after lawmakers decided to ditch electronic machines that leave no paper trail. Late last year, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and his administration raised concerns about election officials’ rushing the new machines into service. They relented when the machine vendor, Election Systems and Software, offered to devote additional staff and resources on a successful rollout.Full Article: Maryland’s new voting machines debut with few reported glitches - The Washington Post.
Maryland: Congressional candidate David Trone: Machines for disabled voters are ‘unfit’ | The Washington Post
Attorneys for congressional candidate David Trone are demanding that Maryland election officials overhaul the use of touch-screen machines that are to be used by disabled voters in the April primary — but are not programmed to display all candidates on a single screen. The State Board of Elections voted last month to abandon these machines for general use in early voting because it is difficult to navigate long lists of candidates and could disadvantage those with last names at the end of the alphabet — including Trone, U.S. Senate candidate Chris Van Hollen (D) and GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump. Election officials are keeping the touch-screen machines available for voters with disabilities, including blind people, who can’t easily use the alternative paper ballots that are being rolled out during early voting and the April 26 election. Trone’s campaign objected to elections officials continuing to sanction machines for disabled voters that it deemed “unfit” for general use.Full Article: Md. congressional candidate David Trone: Machines for disabled voters are ‘unfit’ - The Washington Post.
Maine: New accessible voting system will accommodate voters with disabilities | The Portland Press Herald
The state will debut new voting devices during the June primaries that will make it easier for voters with disabilities to cast secret ballot. The ExpressVote system has a video display screen and built-in ballot printer. It’s both audio and visual, allowing a voter to make selections by touching the screen or using a controller that has different-shaped colored buttons with Braille labels. Before this new device was chosen by the Secretary of State’s Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions, towns used a phone line that allows voters with disabilities to listen to an audio ballot and select the choices by pressing a button. A few hundred voters used those devices, according to Julie Flynn, deputy secretary of state. She hopes the ExpressVote system will attract many more potential voters. “I think it’s more intuitive,” she said. “I don’t think it takes as much instruction as the one we had.”
Sebastian County is poised to test new voting equipment for the state by letting county voters use it in the March 1 primaries. The Sebastian County Election Commission and county officials unveiled Tuesday the 250 voting machines, 54 tabulators and 94 digital poll books that will be set up in the county’s 41 polling places March 1 and in three early voting sites. Early voting begins Tuesday and runs through Feb. 29. For the past 10 years, voters in Sebastian County have had the option of voting on now-obsolete electronic machines or by paper ballot, Election Commission Chairman David Damron said. Both will be replaced by equipment the Arkansas secretary of state’s office bought from Omaha, Neb.-based Electronic Systems & Software for testing in Sebastian, Boone, Columbia and Garland counties.Full Article: Updated election machines unveiled | NWADG.
The Maryland State Board of Elections announced Thursday, Feb. 4, a change to how the new voting system equipment will be used during early voting for the 2016 presidential primary election. For this election, most early voters will manually make their selections on paper ballots and feed the marked ballots into a digital scanner. Voters with disabilities may use an accessible ballot marking device at each early voting center to make selections independently. With this change, the voting process during early voting will be identical to the Election Day process. … As initially designed, all voters during early voting would have used an accessible ballot-marking device to make selections. The voter would then feed into a digital scanner the ballot printed from the ballot marking device.Full Article: State announces early voting changes - The Star Democrat - Easton, Maryland: Local.