Leader Blues

Sunday, July 01, 2007

TOP STORY >>New voting machines for election

IN SHORT: Residents of Sherwood casting their ballots will see some changes.

Leader staff writer

Sherwood residents voting for mayor will notice a change in the voting machines and ballots.

Gone are the blue machines and ballots where arrows had to be connected. In their place are new gray machines and ballots that just need to be bubbled in.

“The Sherwood mayoral election will be the first time that we have used the new machines,” said Pam Walker, voting equipment specialist for the county. “We think most voters will find the process easier and we don’t expect any glitches.”

But the election commission will offer demonstration of the new machine and ballot marking at noon July 7 at the Jack Evans Senior Citizens Center, on Thornhill, off Kiehl Avenue.

The commission will train poll workers on the new machines and ballots earlier that day.
The county has been used the blue Eagle brand voting machines since 1994, but they are now being replaced by what the election commissioners call a younger more sophisticated model, the M100.

“The county received the new machines through state and federal funding,” Walker said. “Pulaski County is fortunate to have this new equipment at no charge to the county,” she said.

Besides the new M100-brand machines, each polling site will also have an iVotronic machine. “This machine uses an audio ballot so voters with visual disabilities are able to vote unassisted,” Walker said.

Any voter may use the iVotronic, Walker said, but with just one at each site it’s not feasible for most non-handicapped voters to use this machine.

As of Friday afternoon, 20 Sherwood residents had already cast their mayoral vote at the Pulaski County Courthouse where early voting for the election started Monday.

Early voting will continue at the courthouse through July 9, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Early voting will start in Sherwood Monday and run through Friday at the senior citizens center. Voting times there will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Both voting sites will be closed July 4. The actual election date is Tuesday, July 10 and there will be eight sites open for voting from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The sites are Sylvan Hills United Methodist Church, Brockington Road Church of the Nazarene, Sylvan Hills Community Church, the Jack Evans Senior Citizens’ Center, First Baptist Church of Sherwood, Cornerstone Bible Fellowship Church, Indianhead Lake Baptist Church and the Sherwood Youth Center.