Leader Blues

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

TOP STORY >> Machines to undergo testing for primaries

Leader staff report

Public Logic and Accuracy tests of Pulaski County’s touch-screen iVotronic voting machines and optical scanners were to be conducted Wednesday, according to Susan Inman, director of the Pulaski County Election Commission, and one such machine will be in use at each of the nine early voting sites by Thursday or Friday.

She had hoped to use most or all of the 156 machines delivered to the county for early voting, which runs through May 22, but they were not properly programmed.

The public tests are required by state law, but the individual machines were tested satisfactorily Tuesday at the warehouse where they are stored, Inman said.

The county was to have several voting machines at each of the nine early voting sites, but the software contractor, ES&S had problems getting the software program right.

“We’ve received out stuff,” said Inman Tuesday. “Late yesterday we got the flash cards (containing the programs.)”
“We initiated tests today and they seemed to be working.”

Optical scanners read the paper ballots being used instead of the voting machines also have tested fine, she said.
Secretary of State Charlie Daniels had said that Pulaski County would not be among the 33 counties using the new voting machines, but Inman said there will be one at each site during early voting. Daniels said voters could begin using the new iVotronic touch-screen voting machines as soon as they’ve had enough time to test the software.

The new voting machines are working perfectly in White County, where the software arrived just two days before early voting began.

“I haven’t heard anybody complain about the touch screen,” said Leslie Miller, who works for White County Clerk Tanya Burleson as voter registration clerk. Most people have had some experience with touch screens by now,” she said. “A lot of the ATM machines have gone to touch screens.

“Turnout has been good,” she said. “We had 115 the first day. Normally we’d have 50 or 60. I think people are catching on to early voting.”

Early voting at the White County Courthouse is from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. However, on May 22, the day before the primary, voting ends at 5 p.m., to allow workers to prepare for the primary.