Voters test new voting system ahead of the primary election

Registered voters of Gregg County are about to have a new way to vote. The Gregg County...
Registered voters of Gregg County are about to have a new way to vote. The Gregg County Commissioners Court on Monday unanimously voted to approve new voting machines for the county.
Updated: Jan. 29, 2020 at 11:32 AM EST
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Brunswick County has a new voting system to replace the old voting machines that had been used since 2006.

During an interactive demonstration Wednesday, voters got to see how the new voting equipment will work ahead of the upcoming primary elections next month.

“We let them touch a paper ballot, go to a voting booth with a pen and feed it into the scanner to see what it will be like on election day because it is quite different,” said Sara Knotts, Director of the Brunswick County Board of Elections.

When arriving at a precinct, voters will check in with a precinct official to provide their name, residential address, and give political party affiliation. After that point, voters sign an authorize to vote document, which provides information on which paper ballot they will get. Voters take that document to a ballot station and will exchange it for the correct paper ballot. Then voters will go to the voting booth with instructions on how to fill out the ballot, then they feed the filled out ballot into a scanner which calculates the results. Voters will see a waving American flag on the machine when it is done processing the ballot.

Election officials stressed the importance of knowing the do’s and don’ts when filling out the ballots, because the machine won’t read the ballot if it isn’t filled out correctly.

"Voters need to completely fill in the rectangle to the left of their choice. Don’t do check marks, or draw an "X". Just fill in the rectangle," Knotts said.

Knotts hopes voter confidence will increase with the new equipment.

“I hope that voters will like being able to look at the piece of paper, mark their ballot and trust the machine will read their marks,” she said.

The Board of Elections says this system is user-friendly and provides an accessible device to enable all voters, including those with disabilities, to mark their ballots privately and independently. This accessible ballot marking device includes an audio ballot reader and accommodates adaptive devices such as a sip-and-puff.

The primary election will be held March 3, 2020. One-stop early voting begins Thursday, Feb. 13 and ends on Saturday, Feb. 29.

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