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Published: Saturday, 10/29/2005

Computer voting cited for its ease

BY ERIKA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Elections board worker Hugh Ross shows UT student Cherron Carter, 18, a first-time voter, how to use the new voting machine at the University of Toledo's Scott Park campus. Elections board worker Hugh Ross shows UT student Cherron Carter, 18, a first-time voter, how to use the new voting machine at the University of Toledo's Scott Park campus.
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Voters who are uneasy about using new computer voting machines during the Nov. 8 election should reassure themselves by microwaving their favorite TV dinner or perhaps withdrawing some cash from an ATM.

Because, according to Lucas County elections officials, those tasks are just as easy.

"If you can microwave a hotdog, you can use this machine," said Jill Kelly, director of the county elections board.

Board of elections staff members have shown up in churches and community centers - voting machines in tow - giving demonstrations.

The new machines stand nearly 4 feet high and have headphones and a numeric keypad for the hearing impaired.

It can be adjusted to accommodate a wheelchair and the type on the screen can be enlarged.

Lucas County received 1,613 machines from the state.

The county commissioners purchased an additional 68 for training and as backups.

Each polling location will have at least two machines. A larger polling location, like the Lucas County Recreation Center in Maumee, will have 208 machines, Ms. Kelly said.

This year's ballot will take voters a few minutes to get through, more for those who don't come prepared.

Voters will have several opportunities throughout the process to change their vote. A printed record of each vote also is recorded.

Demonstrations will be held this weekend at:

w●Today at the Mott Branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, 1085 Dorr St., from noon to 4 p.m.

w●Today at Ss. Peter and Paul Church, 728 South St. Clair St., from 10 to 11 a.m.

w●Today at San Marcos Market, 235 East Broadway, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

w●Tomorrow at Cornerstone Church, 1520 Reynolds Rd., Maumee, from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

w●Tomorrow at St. Martin DePorres Catholic Church, 1119 West Bancroft St., from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Other area counties receiving machines are Defiance, Fulton, Hancock, Henry, Huron, Paulding, Van Wert, and Wood.

Voters are encouraged to learn more about the machines by contacting their local board of elections office or by going online at www.yourvotecounts.org for written instructions and interactive video presentations explaining procedures for using the machines.

- ERICA BLAKE



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