County tests new voting technology
Early this month, Lucas County, Ohio, tested touch screen voting machines during a primary election for an open seat on the Toledo City Council. The machines replaced the county’s 50-year-old lever machines in 28 polling locations.
The county decided to test the touch screen machines only about one month before the May 7 primary election. The state Supreme Court mandated that the county hold a special election for the vacated city council seat, but because of other primary election ballot items, the county’s lever machines could not accommodate the special race. The county decided to install 118 touch screen machines in those precincts affected by the city council election.
Oakland, Calif.-based Sequoia Voting Systems provided the touch screen machines and worked with the county to train poll workers. “The machines were built and delivered less than two weeks before the election,” says Antoinette Szuch, director of elections for the county. “We managed to train more than 120 poll workers, including 90 high school students who we enlisted at the last minute to work as precinct assistants.”
According to The Toledo Blade, touch-screen voting was well received. “It went very well,” Paula Ross, a member of the county’s elections governing board, told the newspaper. “I was at seven polling places twice, and watched people vote. [Reaction] was uniformly positive.”
According to the newspaper, the county plans to test more systems from different vendors before it replaces all its lever machines. The county uses more than 1,000 machines at 521 precincts.