Last November, some Fairfax County residents reported long lines and wait times of more than three hours to cast their vote at the polls; some abandoned voting all together. But some 50 recommendations from Fairfax County’s new election commission — many of them focused on technology that will speed up parts of the voting process — could solve the problem. How quickly changes are made, though, depends on how much room officials can find in this year’s budget to implement new programs in time for the next presidential election. … The commission, which Chairman Sharon Bulova formed in December 2012, also recommended officials make electronic scanning voting machines – which scan paper ballots – available countywide. The commission argued the optical scanning machines were both faster and more reliable than the county’s touch-screen voting machines. Virginia’s General Assembly placed restrictions on the touch-screen voting machines in 2007 because of performance issues, and the commission noted in ots report that vendor has since gone under. “The [touch screen machines] are old and sometimes unreliable, taking time to reboot frequently or to get a replacement machine,” the report reads. Read the Report
If electronically scanned paper ballots were made available in every polling place, lines would move more quickly, Hanley said.
Stu Mendelsohn, the commission’s co-chair, said the county should rebrand the paper ballots at “electronically scanned ballots” to ensure that voters use them more frequently. “They don’t want to vote on paper anymore because they’re afraid that they aren’t going to be counted right away,” he said.
Supervisor Jeff McKay (D-Lee) agreed residents needed to be made more aware of the paper ballot option. “If everyone had voted that way that day, the lines probably could moved a lot quicker, but we have a lot of work to do educate people on what that means,” he said.