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Friday, January 26, 2007

New Voting Machines Arrive in February

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By Jennifer Connic

Westport’s registrars of voters are ready to receive new, electronic voting machines next month, but they’re still seeking a place to store the equipment.

Registrar of Voters Nita Cohen said the 18 new voting machines—which will electronically scan ballots and capture votes on a computer chip—are due to arrive on Feb. 16.

The other items needed for the new machines including the bins and privacy booths have already arrived, she said, and they stored them in the attic at Town Hall.

But the machines themselves cannot be stored in the attic, Cohen said, because it is not climate controlled.

“I’m not sure where we’re going to put them,” she said.

The machines are about the size of a large laptop, and the one election officials use to scan absentee ballots is currently stored in a cabinet in the registrars’ office.

Right now, Cohen said, the lever machines easily can be stored in the schools because they are too large for someone to steal.

“These you have to protect,” she said. “They can walk away.”

Overall, she said, she is excited about the new machines and isn’t anxious.

“I’ll feel better when we know the logistical things,” she said. “I’m comfortable with the idea of the new machines. We have used them for absentee ballots for five years.”

The registrars will train poll workers starting in June, Cohen said, and there will be two training sessions for the public.

The registrars are planning two sessions—one in the afternoon and one at night—for people to learn about the new machines, she said.

Each machine cost $7,000, she said, but federal funding that was filtered through the state paid for each of the machines.

“We didn’t pay for them, but we’ll have to pay for the ballots and the extra help,” Cohen said.

Posted 01/26/07 at 11:17 AM

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A note of caution:  if you want to feel safe that your vote gets counted, vote absentee.  After all the problems that have been encountered with electronic voting, it is sad to note that the powers in charge chose to introduce electronic voting machines.  My question is - will people using these machines receive a receipt like we do at an ATM machine?

Rozanne Gates

Posted by Rozanne Gates on January 28, 2007 at 09:27 PM | #
 

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