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New voting machines pass test

Teak Simonton

Last week, several members of the Democratic and Repub-lican parties joined me and my election staff for four full days of testing for all of the voting systems that will be used in the upcoming primary election. Well, the results are in, and guess what? Every Eagle County voter is a winner! I am pleased to report that the voting machines functioned accurately in every testing scenario: election mode, early voting mode and absentee voting mode. Hand counting the paper trail for the machines further confirmed their accuracy. In those instances when the results didn’t match, it was determined that the cause was human error In other words; the machines functioned exactly as they were supposed to!There are two types of machines that will be used. The new machines are Direct Record Electronic voting machines manufactured by Hart InterCivic. These machines satisfy the recently passed federal mandate for electronic voting, and each polling place in Eagle County will have at least one. The larger polling centers will have more than one – up to nine – for the election in November. This same equipment has been used successfully in over 750 elections across the country. Over the past several months, 16 separate demonstrations were held across Eagle County in grocery stores, senior centers, Rotary Club meetings and in our office, and the reactions from people were very positive. It didn’t take long for everyone to get the hang of the Direct Record Electronic voting machines. They are very straight forward and easy to use. We intend to offer more demonstrations in September and early October before the general election. There are also older machines, the Diebold Accuvote optical scan units. These have been used in Eagle County for about eight years, and if you recall you filled in the ovals on your paper ballot and fed this ballot through the reader at each polling place. These machines will be used for absentee ballot processing for this election, and were also tested with perfect results.All of Eagle County’s electronic machines are equipped with a paper audit trail, which gives each voter the opportunity to review their ballot before casting it, and will serve as the official ballot for post-election audits and recount purposes. If you come to a polling place on election day, you will be using one of these machines. For those who prefer to vote via the paper ballot method, there is still the option of applying for an absentee ballot. The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot to be mailed to you is today. Absentee ballots can also be picked up in person at the Eagle location through Friday. Early voting will be available at our Avon, Eagle and El Jebel offices from through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The new electronic voting machines will be used for early voting. Rest assured there will be plenty of instruction and assistance available for early and election day voting.For more information on the new machines, absentee ballot applications, early voting details or any other election questions, please visit our Web site at http://www.eaglecounty.us/clerk or call us at 328-8725 or 328-8715.Teak Simonton is the Eagle County clerk and recorder.Vail, Colorado


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