Voters need to try out the new machines before Election Day
May 17, 2006
The hubbub that greeted the arrival of Summit County’s new electronic-voting machines was expected, but before declaring them better or worse than the old system, people should take a few minutes to try them out.
Summit County Clerk Sue Follett, a lame duck who likely lost her party’s nomination this year because of the controversial Diebold Election Systems machines, commendably brought a model to City Hall last week for such a demonstration and says she will make it available to other interested groups.
People planning to vote this year would be smart to show up at one of her demonstrations, even though Follett said this week none are currently scheduled. Using the machines is not rocket science, but it is markedly different than the abandoned punch-card method.
Voters who are familiar with computerized systems like those that operate ATMs will probably catch on reasonably quickly but people who are not accustomed to the interactive nature of modern technology could have difficulty in the upcoming elections, when they will cast ballots for county, state and federal offices.
We fear some voters becoming disenfranchised and either deciding not to vote or leaving the polls in frustration before finalizing their ballot.
The scenario is one of the concerns of the Diebold critics, who are even more worried, though, about Election Day hanky-panky with the machines and the people counting the votes.
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Follett smartly promises that many more demonstrations will occur, presumably before both the June primaries and Election Day in November.
She plans to hold demonstrations for the public and those for civic groups if they are interested. Follett said the demonstrations will be publicized beforehand, increasing the chances that more people will show up than those who attended on Monday.
People interested in the demonstration schedule and those who want Follett to appear for a civic organization can reach her at 615-5203 on the West Side or (435) 336-3203 in North and South Summit.
One caution, though. Those who partake will see names like George Washington on the mock ballot. Don’t expect such formidable figures on the real ballot this year.
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