Logan County Clerk Peggy Firzjurls’ staff and the Logan County Election Commission went through two days of training on use of the new election system software last week at the commission’s office in Paris.
The system, which was purchased from Election Systems and Software through state funding, will be in use for the General Election in November.
The voting procedure will basically be a four step process utilizing each of the different portions of the system.
People arriving at a polling place will have their eligibility to vote confirmed on a device which resembles an iPad, rather than the poll books election officials have long used.
However, while a majority of the traditional polling places will be open, they will no longer be exclusive because each of the devices will contain all voting rolls for all precincts so a voter from Paris, who may be elsewhere on election day, can stop at the nearest county polling location there and cast his or her vote.
Once the voter has been registered a blank strip of paper will be entered into a printing device which will print a bar code across the top identifying the precinct for which the ballot is to be counted.
That paper will be then loaded into a device with a screen which resembles a computer. That device is fully ADA compliant with head phones for the hearing impaired and the screen can be dimmed or brightened, as well.
Voters will be taken through the entire ballot related to their precinct and, once, the process is completed, show all votes on the screen, noting any entry for which there was no selection and allowing the voter to return to that screen. Voters can also, from that screen, revisit a ballot entry to change a selection.
Once the ballot is confirmed by the voter, the strip of paper will be returned to the voter with his or her selections all listed on the paper.
The paper is then fed into a final device, which commissioners and clerk staff have termed “Oscar” because it resembles a trash can. The ballot is then read and retained by the machine completing the voting process.
The system also has a central unit through which officials can monitor the devices in real time for potential problems including a loss of power to a particular machine.
Commissioners will also be able to monitor counts of ballots, providing real time data on whether there are too many machines in a particular precinct and not enough in another.
Once the election is completed, in addition to the results, the software can also produce a plethora of reports including the heaviest hours of the day, turnout percentages by precinct and overall, and more.