New Voting Machines, Up and Running

May 19, 2006 -- 2:00 PM


JONESBORO, AR -- Members of the Craighead C ounty Election Committee were hard at work Friday, getting ready for the upcoming election.


"We're here today to have a public test of the new voting equipment, said B enton Smith, Chairman of the Election Committee.


The new voting machine offers a simple way for voters to choose their candidate, and election officials made sure that everything was good-to-go.


"They're a little bit more difficult for the election official to get it up and running, because they have to open it up...they have to print up a zero report to ensure that no one has voted on the machines after we do the testing," said Smith.


Tests were conducted on 23 machines Friday.  Officials reported no problems with any of them.  

"We're going to have one (machine) at every polling site on Election Day, so we'll have 18 out on Election Day," said Smith.


Although the new machines appear to be fairly simple for voters to use, there will be a representative on site from the manufacturing company on Election Day, in case any technical glitches occur.


"I don't expect that we'll have any problems on Election Day," said Smith.  " The machines are just an option for the voters to use."


Option is the key word, and some voters will stick to the traditional way of casting their ballot.


"I can’t stress enough that we will still have paper ballots," said Smith.  "We'll have paper ballots for the runoff in June…we'll have paper ballots for the November election."


Whether voters prefer a paper ballot, or a digital ballot, technology has placed a mark on the voting system in Region 8.