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New paper ballot voting machines introduced

November 5 municipal elections will introduce new voting machines.

South Carolina’s paper-based voting system will get its first test on November 5 as municipal elections will be held throughout the tri-city area. The major difference is that you will be handed a paper ballot that will be printed following your selection on a touchscreen. You will then review the paper ballot and cast the ballot personally. This is the way it will work:

After signing in, a poll worker will provide you with a blank ballot card and direct to the ballot marking device. Insert your ballot card into the ballot marking device as instructed on the corner cut at the top right. If necessary, a poll worker will select your ballot style before leaving you to vote in private. Make your selections by touching the screen. Selections will be checked and highlighted. To cast a write-in vote, a touch screen will appear. Type the candidate’s name on the screen then touch except to continue voting. After completing the last page touch next to review your selections.

Viewscreen will notify you if you have not voted a contest or selected fewer candidates than allowed. To change a selection, touch the selection to return to that contest. When satisfied with your selections touch next.

To print your ballot, press the print card icon found at the bottom of the screen. Your printed ballot card will be returned to you from the slot on the front of the ballot marking device. You will now have a printed paper ballot in your hand. Review each selection of your ballot card. If you need to make changes, contact a poll manager for replacement. When you are ready to cast your ballot take your ballot card to the scanner and insert it face down on the green arrow. The scanner counts your vote and drops your paper ballot into a locked ballot box.

Several million dollars has been invested in these voting machines and these are some of the benefits. It will create a paper record of every ballot cast. Paper ballots are used to verify election results adding an additional layer of security South Carolina elections. It also prevents over votes, selecting more candidates than allowed. It warns voters about under votes, missed votes an office or voted for fewer candidates than allowed. It allows access for all voters. Every voter can vote independently using the same equipment. Every ballot marking device features and audio ballot and headphone, a Braille embossed controller and an input for a sip and puff switch and other assistive switches.

Voters will be familiar with the process since touchscreens have been used for many years. But now there will be a paper trail. Be sure to vote on Tuesday, November 5. It’s your right!♦

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