Dozens attend first demo of potential new Clark County voting equipment

The first of four potential voting machine companies were put on display for Clark County voters Wednesday.

The Clark County Board of Elections is searching for a company to provide new voting equipment after being awarded nearly $1.2 million from the state to replace aging machines.

But the Board wants it to be a community decision, which is why they’re inviting the public to test out what each company has to offer and give their feedback.

“It should not rest solely on the board of election’s shoulders to make this decision — it should be the voters of Clark County,” director Jason Baker said. “We want input from everybody.”

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Dominion Voting, based in Denver, was the first to showcase their products to voters. Dominion had several features to offer, including an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) hand-held device with various buttons allowing for those with hearing or motor impairments to cast a ballot.

Voters who came for the demonstration said they liked the features that allowed everyone to vote, regardless of accessibility.

Everyone was asked to fill out a sample ballot and test out the new equipment. Sleek and modern ballot scanners alerted the voter if they had marked too many choices for a category and gave them an opportunity to correct the error.

“The one thing we want to stress is that the voters have complete confidence that their ballots are being read correctly and placed into the right categories,” said Mark Beckstrand, Regional Sales Manager for Ohio with Dominion Voting.

A bill signed earlier this year by Gov. John Kasich will allow county election boards across Ohio to purchase a new generation of voting machines.

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The Board of Elections said the funding couldn’t have come at a better time. Clark County hasn’t upgraded its voting machines for about 13 years.

Baker said in the last election, he had several voting machines fail — and that can’t happen anymore. The new equipment, regardless of which company is chosen, will be in place before the May 2019 election.

Sue Ann Dill and her husband came to the board office to test out the new equipment. She’s a poll worker and her husband does repairs on some of the current voting machines. They’ve experienced the headaches of the aging equipment firsthand.

“I really like to see the different types of new equipment because the equipment we’ve had is really old,” Dill said. “Nobody likes change, but if (the voters) can realize how easy it’s going to be, hopefully they’ll come and vote more.”

Hart Inter Civic Inc. will display its equipment today. Election Systems & Software will show its voting machines on Wednesday, Dec. 12, and Clear Ballot, on Thursday, Dec. 13. All demonstrations are from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Clark County Board of Elections, 3130 E. Main St.

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