New Clark County voting machines pass New Carlisle election test

New voting machine equipment purchased this year by Clark County worked without issue during the New Carlisle special election.

Clark County Board of Elections Director Jason Baker said there were no complaints filed against the machines and poll workers told him they were easier to set up and handle.

MORE: $1.3 million investment coming to Clark County voting machines

“No problems whatsoever,” Baker said. “I was at the location and the poll workers were able to set up the equipment quickly and accurately with no issue.”

The county spent about $1.3 million on the new machines. The money used to buy the machines came from the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office.

There will be no special elections in Clark County in August, Baker said, so the New Carlisle election was important to ensure the machines were battle tested before a bigger election.

The Clark County Board of Election had tested numerous machines before choosing Clear Ballot. The election’s office hosted public events that allowed residents to come in and test machines before giving input.

Clear Ballot was chosen over Election System’s, Dominion Voting and Hart Inter Civic Inc.

Clear Ballot machines are paper-based voting systems in which every voter ends the voting process with a scannable paper ballot. Once ballots are scanned, ballot images can be viewed by election officials.

The State of Ohio has dispersed more than $114 million to upgrade voting machines throughout the state. Baker said about 10 other counties throughout Ohio chose Clear Ballot too.

The elections board 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 Clear Ballot began as an election auditing company, so “the software they have in the background to audit elections is amazing.”

“A lot of great things can come from this software,” he said.

Baker told the Springfield News-Sun that New Carlisle special election was the perfect test for the machines. The election was to decide a race for city council between Amy Hopkins and Becky McKenzie. Only about 320 voters participated in the election.

“It was a small election, but we learned a lot,” Baker said. “We know what we have to do to train the poll workers.”

Baker said the office is now gearing up for the 2020 elections where Clark County voters will cast their chose for a president along with many local races. He said the board office will set up a booth at the Clark County Fairgrounds this summer where voters will be able to test the machines and learn how they work.

“People will be able to see what the machines can do,” Baker said. “We want residents to be as comfortable with our machines as possible before they come to vote.”

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