New ballot boxes ready and waiting
Published 1:55 pm Saturday, January 9, 2016
Voting is going to be a lot easier for Franklin residents the next time they have to go to the polls. On Friday, Registrar Jennifer Maynard received nine new ballot boxes and the accompanying devices to tabulate the votes.
Printelect’s Tyler Lincks and Gary Fox not only brought three pallets worth of equipment from Richmond, but of course set them up to be tested.
Back in mid-December, Maynard told City Council that the equipment then wouldn’t have effectively and efficiently make it through upcoming elections. Ultimately, the electoral board chose Printelect, which is based in New Bern, North Carolina, and Election Systems & Software for the nine DS200 Precinct Scanners and eight ExpressVote ADA units; Southampton County uses the same kind.
Now instead of a touchscreen system, voters will go back to paper and mark ovals with a black pen beside the candidates of their choice. The return to paper is a mandate of the General Assembly, which wants tangible votes for counting if needed.
In addition to the paper vote being stored in a bin, the ballot is scanned simultaneously and recorded as a digital image. If a voter leaves a ballot blank, or over votes, a screen will alert him or her and ask if that was intended.
The cost for all this is $88,809.45, and it will be paid over in two installments over the net two years without an interest penalty.
Maynard anticipates the new boxes will be much faster and less likely for errors, as well as quick tabulation. The office still has to canvas the next day to declare any election official.