The public is about to get its first look at the new voting equipment recently purchased by the Grayson County Elections Department. Elections Administrator Deana Patterson said her office will start letting the public examine the machines on Thursday, but first, the machines will be inspected by local elected officials and media.
The machines will be used in the November Constitutional Amendment election.
The equipment will be available to the public for inspection around noon on Thursday at 115 W. Houston Street in Sherman.
Back in April, county commissioners approved Patterson’s request to spend $1,287,234 for 250 ballot card markers and 40 scanners. That price tag did not include $209,490 for maintenance, $120,390 for hardware maintenance, $26,025 for the software license maintenance and support, or $63,075 for the firmware license and maintenance.
Still, Patterson said, the price is a good one when one considers the equipment could last 15 years or more. The machines that the county just traded in, she said, had a good shelf life for the county. The county received $147,100 in trade for its old IVotronic machines.
Patterson held election worker training in September, that will included training about 125 people over a two-week period.
The new system includes express vote ballot marking devices and will allow voters to make their candidate selections in a manner similar to the machines that have recently been in use in Grayson County. The new machines will then print out a paper ballot that will be reviewed by the voter and then placed by the voter in a scanner that will scan in the vote into that polling places’ votes tabulation.
The biggest change between the old system and the new one is the fact that the new one will have a voter verifiable paper trail.
That slip of paper will be called a ballot card. Patterson said that when the voter checks in at the electronic pole book they will get a ballot card. They will insert it in a machine that’s very similar to what they use now. But then once they finish (voting on) that machine, the card will be deposited in a scanner. So that’s the biggest difference, having that extra scanner where the voter will deposit their ballot card.
While the voter won’t actually leave the poll with anything showing how they voted, they will get the opportunity, after they have marked their selections and the card has been printed, to review the card and make sure that the selections they wanted were marked.
Jerrie Whiteley is the Criminal Justice Editor for the Herald Democrat. Contact her at JWhiteley@HeraldDemocrat.com or on Twitter @JLWhiteley.