Voting machines ready for public 'test drive'

Friday, August 28, 2009

BERRYVILLE -- Beginning next Monday, people who want to "test drive" an electronic voting machine are welcome to do so at the Carroll County Courthouse in Berryville.

Bethe Henley, the county's election coordinator, said an "ice cream ballot" is available for people to "play with."

They can vote for their favorite ice cream flavors and get a feel for electronic voting at the same time.

She said the "ice cream ballot" and the electronic voting machine were a big hit with high school seniors who attended a Ready-Set-Graduate gathering May 11 at Green Forest High School.

"They loved it," she said of the next generation of voters.

Those included seniors from across the county, she said, who participated in the event and visited the voter registration drive table.

Now, beginning on Monday and continuing through Tuesday, Sept. 15, school election day, area residents can stop by the county clerk's office during regular business hours to cast their ice cream votes and familiarize themselves with electronic voting.

They can also witness the public testing of machines that is scheduled for next Tuesday, at 10 a.m.

On that day, Henley said, premarked sample ballots provided by Election Systems and Software (ES&S) will be run through four electronic voting machines and through the 650 paper ballot counting machine.

A similar test was conducted Aug. 17 when the Madison County election coordinator came by to help with Logic and Accuracy Testing, Henley said.

The tests are required prior to elections, which in this case are the upcoming school elections.

The Carroll County Election Commission met last Friday to line out election workers for the two polling places that will be open election day: the Berryville Community Center for Berryville School patrons; and Best Western Eureka Inn for Eureka Springs School patrons.

Because the Green Forest School District has no contested races, it will not be opening polls on election day, Henley said, but will be conducting its election strictly through early and absentee voting, according to state election law.

Early voting will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 8 and will be conducted in both the Eureka Springs and Berryville courthouses during normal business hours, 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, with the last day to early vote set for Monday, Sept. 14.

Election day voting will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 15, from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.

Berryville patrons will choose between incumbent Jack Newberry and challenger Jeffrey Miles for the Zone 5 seat and its five year term.

Shannon Hill, the Zone 2 representative, is running uncontested for another five year term.

In Eureka Springs, Randy Wells, the Position 4 representative, is facing a challenge from Tom Freehling for the three-year term.

Eureka Springs school board members Robert McCormick and Rudy Sanchez are running unopposed for their positions on school board, as is Green Forest's Cheryl Howard.

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