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Local residents will get to test voting machines

August 19, 2004

Index-Journal senior staff writer

Greenwood County election officials are seeking opportunities to let the public test new election machines before Novemberís general election.

The county recently upgraded its election equipment using federal and state funding, replacing Elections Systems & Software (ES&S) equipment purchased in 1997 with the companyís latest iVotronic system.
Election Commission members met Wednesday to discuss how the new voting machines would be worked into local voting and what could be done with the current voting devices.

The main interface for voters using the iVotronic is a full-color touch-screen, capable of displaying ballots, pictures and multiple languages.

It is also equipped with sound and headphones for people with vision or literacy problems and is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In about two weeks, the county will receive 180 iVotronic machines that will be available for use during Novemberís general election. While users will see few differences in how they cast their ballots, election officials are working to let the public become familiar with the new hardware before they formally put it to use in an election.

The iVotronic will be on display during the Sept. 18 Wellness Works event at Greenwood Mall. The Greenwood Republican Womenís Club has also asked for a demonstration during an upcoming gathering.
An iVotronic is already available for inspection at the Greenwood County Voter Registration and Elections Office.

As part of the federal grant agreement, ES&S will conduct the countyís first election using the iVotronic, said Connie Moody, director of voter registration and elections for Greenwood County. The equipment will not go into use until November, she said, when county election staff functions mostly as observers and consultants.

After November, the county will find buyers for the 160 older Votronic machines rendered obsolete by the upgrade. The machines would be sold directly to other counties interested in upgrading election systems and could bring in about $1,500 each, Moody said.


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