View Full Version : Oklahoma Trying Out New Voting Machines

01-12-2012, 10:32 PM

Oklahoma will host a mock election this week to introduce its new voting system in advance of its first election of the year on Feb. 14, officials confirmed Friday.

"This is something all 77 counties are doing," said Paul Ziriax, secretary of the Oklahoma State Election Board. "Each county courthouse will host an open house during the week so members of the public can come in, look at the new equipment, see what a ballot looks like and try it out by casting a vote in our mock election."

The open-house period runs Monday through Thursday.

In Sequoyah County, citizens may visit the county election board at 110 E. Creek Ave., Sallisaw, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In LeFlore County, the election board is at 103 N. Church St., Poteau, and the hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The new system, eScan ATI from Austin-based Hart InterCivic, replaces a worn-out system designed in the 1980s that is beyond repair or upgrade, Ziriax said. It was paid for with money held over from the 2002 Help America Vote Act, which granted funding to every state to improve voting systems.

In Oklahoma, Ziriax said, the best is getting even better with the upgrade.

What made the state's system a nationwide standout is its uniformity: Every precinct has for years used the same system of scannable paper ballots. The state will continue to use paper ballots because voters have demonstrated a high level of comfort with the system.

"We love the fact that the voter can hold the ballot, cast a vote with his own hand and deposit it into the scanner," he said. Also, in the event of an equipment malfunction or need of a recount, the paper ballots provide an extra bit of reassurance.

What will make the system even better, Ziriax said, is the way the state will meet the federal requirement to provide disabled voters with a means to vote privately and independently.

With the Audio Tactile Interface, or ATI, a disabled voter will be able to cast a vote without assistance from a family member or poll worker.

Cindy Osborn, secretary of the Sequoyah County Election Board, said the machines are all digital and the voting process should go more quickly than before. The ballots are smaller, lighter in weight and will be the same size regardless of the election contents, she said.

"The system is still uniform statewide," she said. "That's what makes Oklahoma better."

Ziriax said the ballots still involve filling out with a pencil, but the new format will have a rectangle to the left of each candidate's name instead of an arrow to the right.

The mock ballot will ask voters to choose their favorite Oklahoma role model, treat, athlete, sports team, musician and actor.

His office will use the mock election to test the tabular software, he said.

01-12-2012, 11:09 PM
Any available pictures?

Larry OKC
01-14-2012, 10:16 PM
pics at the link

01-15-2012, 11:29 AM
What if you don't want to vote for anyone in one of the elections on the ballot? If you not mark that part of the ballot will the machne spit it out? I'm still not sure if there will be anyone I will want to vote for president.

01-15-2012, 05:29 PM
Call me "old fashioned" but I miss my pull switch voting booths and touch screens. :-P