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Politics

New Electronic Machines Will Check-In Voters

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/newelectro_7566.mp3

This Tuesday is the long-awaited mid-term Election Day. Many voters associate long lines and slow check-in procedures with the voting experience. This Election Day, many of the polling places throughout Greene County will have traded old-fashioned polling methods for new, electronic voting systems. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann has this report.

As many as 38 of the 79 polling locations throughout Greene County will be using these new machines. Richard Struckhoff is county clerk for Greene County.

“They’re not voting machines; they’re actually electronic check-ins. Everyone is familiar when they get to their polling place that the poll workers sit behind a desk or table, and that they have paper poll books to look up your name. Then you have to get in [a] line that has the first letter of your last name. With electronic check-in, you can go up to just any machine that is available there and they can look you up,” Struckhoff said.

Struckhoff says a voter can simply type his or her name into these machines, or they can use a bar code found on the back of their Missouri driver’s license to scan in. He says officials expect this new system to save a lot of time at the polls for voters this year.

“Counties that have used this in Missouri, as recent as the August primary, tell us that it is at least three times faster to look up voters than trying to go through a bunch of paper pages in a poll book,” Struckhoff said.

Struckhoff says all previous forms of voter identification, like state or federal IDs, bank statements or utility bills with name and address, can still be used when voting. However, he says Missouri state driver’s licenses are the only form of ID that will work for expedited check-in at the new machines. Struckhoff says voters should expect a busy election day and should plan ahead.

“Even with this system we expect we will see lines at many of our polling places. It’s going to be a busy day and a big turn-out. One thing you can do to shorten your visit to the polling place is to do your homework. We found during absentee voting, on average, it’s taking people an average of 7 minutes to go through the entire ballot if they are going into it cold and having to read every word,” Struckhoff said.

Struckhoff suggests that by reviewing on-line practice ballots, voters can reduce their actual voting time down to as little as one minute. He also suggests heading for the polls during the least busy times if possible, which are mid-morning and mid-afternoon. According to the Secretary of State’s office, some other tips include things like verifying your registration status, knowing where your correct polling place is, and knowing what to bring with you. They add that ballots cast in the wrong polling place will not be counted, and that there is no longer a Straight Ticket option in Missouri. This means that voters much select a choice for each issue and candidate.

You can find links to more information, as well as how to access practice ballots, below. For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Bettmann.

Click here to learn more about voting including practice ballots and polling locations.