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Fulton County Voters learn how to use new voting equipment



The weather may have been less than perfect, but that didn’t stop Fulton County Clerk employees, Brenda Smick and Marge Grafford, from braving the harsh elements to come to Avon in order to instruct voters on the new voting equipment that will be implemented in the March 16, Primary Election.

One of the new AccuVote ES-2000 machines was on display in the lobby of Tompkins State Bank where Smick and Grafford demonstrated the machine to any interested parties. Voters will now receive a paper ballot which they will take into the voting booth with them. In the booth they will take the supplied black marker and use it to darken the oval located next to the candidate of their choice. Once they are finished they will take the completed ballot to the machine where they will feed it through. The ballot will then be fed into a black ballot box. The ES-2000 is an uncomplicated method for voters and since voters are the ones who feed their own ballot through the machine it eliminates ballot handling and it provides ballot security and election integrity.

If the voter does something wrong the machine will not accept the ballot. For example when instructions on the ballot say "vote for one" for a particular office and the voter mistakenly votes for more than the specified amount, the machine will spit the ballot out because it will recognize an error. Further, the screen located on the machine will indicate exactly what mistake was made and why the machine won't accept the ballot.

When the polls close, precinct totals are printed immediately at the precinct and transferred to the counting center on a memory card located in the machine.

Other advantages of this machine include the paper ballot which is easy for the voter to mark, the paper ballot provides a complete audit trail, instant precinct vote totals, immediate printing of precinct reports at the counting center and fast, accurate election results, to name a few.

Smick said eventually this particular system will be implemented nationwide as it has been mandated that they must be in place by 2006. In the area, some counties already use this particular system while others will implement it during the March election and still others will begin using it with the November election.

Grafford said by utilizing this particular machine it not only makes it easier for voters, but easier for everyone involved.

Personnel from the Fulton County Clerk's office will make other stops throughout the county to educate voters about the new equipment prior to the March election.

For more information about the new equipment call Fulton County Clerk Randal Rumler's office, 547-3041.

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