Sunday, Dec 04, 2016
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Politics

Some areas using touch-screen voting

On Tuesday, many area voters will cast their ballot by using touch screens for the first time.

It's an unfamiliar process, but it has many advantages compared to older voting machines, said Jill Kelly, director of the Lucas County Board of Elections.

"It think it gives every voter the opportunity to vote unassisted," said Ms. Kelly, referring to the Diebold electonic voting machine's voice-over feature and adjustable heights for handicapped citizens.

Each voter be given an access card after signing in at his or her polling location. There will be at least two machines at each location.

An instruction screen appears after the access card is inserted into the slot at the upper right side of the touch screen. Voters can adjust the size and contrast of the text by pushing rectangular boxes at the screen's bottom.

After touching the "next" rectangle, the ballot appears. Voters can select their candidates by touching the clear boxes beside each name. A red-bordered "X" will then appear in the selection.

To change or cancel a selection, voters simply need to touch the "X." They can also touch the "write-In" rectangle and a keyboard will appear on the screen.

Voters can then type in their candidate's name and press "record write-in."

After voting for the candidates and issues, a summary screen will appear. If a voter left a race blank, it will be shown in red on the screen.

Voters can press "back" or the individual race listed in the summary to amend their ballots.

Voters then print their ballots. Protected by a plastic shield to the bottom right of the screen, the printout permits voters to review their choices again.

Before finalizing their decisions, voters have the option of casting or rejecting the ballot. Voters can reject the ballot and start again.

Once a ballot is cast, the print-out scrolls upward to keep the selections anonymous. The card is then deactivated and returned to a nearby poll judge.

Help is available for those who are confused by the different steps, Ms. Kelly said.

"We are still allowed by statute to have a Democratic poll worker and a Republican poll worker assist them," she said.

In the region, Wood, Fulton, Henry, and Defiance counties also are using new electronic voting equipment for Tuesday's election.

Erie, Ottawa, and Sandusky counties are using optical-scan machines. Seneca and Williams counties are using a punch-card system.

In Michigan, the majority of voters in Monroe and Lenawee counties will be casting their ballots with optical-scan machies, although voters in the city of Tecumseh will be using touch-screen electronic voting machines.

Contact Joshua Boak at: jboak@theblade.com or 419-724-6728.

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