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Thirty-four Counties in Kentucky to Use New Voting Equipment PDF  | Print |  Email
By Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson   
October 14, 2008
Voters in thirty-four counties across Kentucky will vote for the first time during a general election on new digital scan voting systems.  The system provides a voter verified paper record, something Secretary of State Trey Grayson has encouraged counties to consider when they adopt voting systems.

“This new equipment is user-friendly and provides voters with a very important tool in today’s elections—a voter verified paper record,” said Secretary of State Trey Grayson.  “I applaud the County Clerks and Fiscal Courts in these counties for taking the lead in moving to these systems.”

Seven counties first used the new systems during the May primary election and the reviews from voters, precinct officials, and county clerks alike were outstanding.

The equipment, called eScans, is a precinct-based voting system that digitally captures voter selections on printed ballots and integrates vote totals from absentee-by-mail and electronic voting systems to produce a single set of election reports.  In fact, over 90 counties in Kentucky already use the machines for absentee balloting.  The new systems should help reduce the time for unofficial vote totals to be tabulated on election night.

Voters will recognize the ballot casting procedure as similar to standardized tests where citizens fill in an oval to mark their selection.  With the digital scan technology, the system reads the ballot, tabulates the results, and preserves a digital image of the ballot.  Multiple voters will be able to mark ballots at one time, reducing lines at the polls.

Jefferson County has used similar technology called optical scan for over 20 years.  That system, the Accuvote OS, also produces a voter verified paper record.  The thirty-five counties using digital or optical scan technology account for forty percent of the voting population in Kentucky.  According to the Verified Voting Foundation, nearly 62% of precincts in the country will vote using paper-based voting such as optical and digital scans.  That number is expected to increase dramatically after the 2008 elections when New York, Tennessee, Maryland, and Virginia counties shift either gradually or completely to the paper-based voting systems.

eScan’s capabilities include functionality to reject overvoted and blank ballots thereby providing second chance voting at the precinct, just as voters would have through the use of the Direct Recording Equipment, commonly known as “electronic voting machines.” With eScan, voters know instantly if their ballot was accepted or rejected and have the opportunity to change or correct their ballot before it is cast and counted.

Each county will still have an accessible voting machine at each polling location in order to remain compliant with the Federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002.       Voters will have the choice to use either machine to cast their ballot.

The State Board of Elections has provided HAVA funds to help counties transition to the technology.  Counties receive approximately $4,500 per precinct to purchase new voting equipment which will cover a majority of the costs of the machines.  This money will still be available after the 2008 general election cycle and a number of counties have indicated that they plan to move to the digital scan technology during the 2010 election cycle.

“These systems should reduce wait times at the polls, provide quicker results, and bring even greater accountability to Kentucky’s lauded elections process.  I look forward to more counties implementing this technology,” stated Grayson.

In Kentucky, the State Board of Elections certifies voting machines that have been approved to federal voting system standards.  County fiscal courts, with consultation from county clerks and county boards of elections, purchase machines that have been properly certified by the state.  The decision of which certified voting system to purchase and use remains with local officials.
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