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'One-Stop' voting has big first day and a few bugs
October 15,2004
Sue Book
New Bern Sun Journal Staff

If the first day of "One-Stop" voting is an indication of voter interest, the 768 voters who cast ballots at three locations in Craven County Thursday predict high turnout numbers for election 2004.

But the first day of voting did not pass without problems to solve.

Charlie Jackson was one of at least three voters, who experienced difficulty registering his vote on electronic voting equipment.

"I got to the machine and punched the box for Bush/Cheney on the very first item for president and the light appeared by Kerry/Edwards," said Jackson.

"I called one of the poll workers over and said, 'hey, how about this?' He said to just keep tapping and it will register right so I pushed several times and the one for Kerry/Edwards disappeared and Bush/Cheney came up," said Jackson, who left confident that his vote was properly recorded.

"Once I got going, it recorded my votes correctly but people better look closely at what they are doing," he said. "It looked like a calibration problem to me but there are a lot of people who might not notice that. They might hit the box and go."

The Bowles/Burr screen posed problems for at least two other voters.

Tiffiney Miller, Craven County Board of Elections director, said Jackson's assessment was probably correct. She said voting on the two machines that where problems Thursday has been stopped until calibrations are checked by the manufacturer's representative.

"I went down myself and checked all the machines," Miller said. "I checked again, recalibrated; there was still some concern so I pulled two machines.

For security purposes they remain in the "One-Stop" room but they are not being used by any other voters. The votes on there will stay on there and we will pull them off and record them."

Miller said the machines, from Election Systems and Software Inc, are serviced by Owen Andrews of New Bern, whom she said would pull a tape to record the votes.

Miller said the touch-screen machines are designed to highlight the candidate's name when voted for.

"That safety mechanism has proven to be really needed," Miller said. "You do know before you cast your ballot that you have voted for who you intended.

"If voters do have any problem at all they need to let an election official know. If anyone has complained, we have jumped on it immediately. If they take it outside, there is not much we can do."

"One-Stop" voting continues weekdays through Oct. 30. Registered Craven County voters may cast votes at the Craven County Administration Building's first floor conference room from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at West Craven High School Performing Arts Center from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and at the Havelock-Craven County Public Library from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Votes may be cast from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 30 at all three locations.

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