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Use of paper ballots confirmed for election
By Johnson County DAILY JOURNAL
Aug. 27, 2004

A banner above the door of Johnson County’s voter registration office in downtown Franklin still tells residents to touch the future of voting using new touchscreen voting machines.

For November’s general election, though, voters will be using paper ballots and ballot-scanning machines to cast their votes.

Election Systems & Software, the company that sold Johnson County $2.4 million worth of touchscreen voting equipment late last year, has failed to get parts of the machines certified for use by Indiana election officials.

The Johnson County Election Board in late July set an Aug. 20 deadline for the company to secure state approval. That did not happen. Company officials expect state certification by mid-September.

At a county election board meeting Thursday, the three-member board confirmed the use of paper ballots. Bob Hill, who is filling in as the Democratic representative on the board until after November’s election, was absent.

The board on Thursday also voted 2-0 to use a quicker ballot tabulator in November if it receives certification before Election Day. The machine has been sitting in the basement of the county office for months but has not been used because it also is not state-approved.

Using optical-scan machines, known as M100s, is the only option left with just three months before the election, Johnson County Clerk Jill Jackson said.

The voting method changes what voters got used to doing in May’s primary election.

Voters will mark paper ballots with a pen in a privacy booth. They will then take the ballot and slide it through a machine that scans their votes and s the ballot into a sealed ballot box.

If a voter makes a mistake, such as marking two candidates or not filling in an oval mark sufficiently, the machine will sound a beeping alarm, reject the ballot and display on a screen what the problem is.

This will be the first time Johnson County has used the optical-scan machines during an election. One was used at voter registration headquarters during the May primary to tabulate absentee ballots.

Training for poll workers on the new machines starts in October, Jackson said. Hoosiers have until Oct. 4 to register to vote in the Nov. 2 election.

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