Warwick - The old adage is, “If it ain’t broke, why fix it.” Nevertheless, the tried and true mechanical voter machine with its familiar curtain and red handle, for the most part, is a relic of the past. This Fall, residents will vote in both the Primary, Sept. 14, and General, Nov. 2, elections using a paper ballot and a new optical scanner. Orange County residents will use the ImageCast system. Last week, the Orange County Board of Elections offered a demonstration of the new voting system for anyone interested. Using mock ballots with voting blocks for your favorite ice cream, movie actor and the like, everyone had an opportunity to “test drive” the system by casting their vote at an actual image ballot casting station.0 Orange County Board of Election Field Technicians Eileen Hand and Buzz Joslyn explained that each voter must sign the poll book as usual at their polling district table. The voter will then receive a pre-printed ballot inside a privacy sleeve and proceed to a voting booth to make his or her selection. The top row will list the offices to be filled and the lower rows will list all candidates by political party in a similar fashion to the old machines. Any propositions will appear on the reverse side of the ballot. A special felt tip pen will be provided at each booth. Voters must completely darken the small square box next to each selection and be very careful not to make any other marks on the paper. When the ballot is completed, the voter places it back inside the privacy sleeve and then goes over to the optical scanner, places the sleeve, with the end folded open, against the scanner’s receptacle and feeds the ballot into the machine. A screen to the right of the scanner will report the ballot as cast successfully or in error. Under-voting, such as failing to vote for a particular office or a proposition will halt the system but the voter will have the option to cast the ballot as is or to request its return. For some errors, such as ambiguous marks, voters will be required to return the ballot for a second chance and repeat the process from the beginning. Based on the possibility for some early confusion, registered voters should allow extra time for voting this year.
Try it yourself The Orange County Board of Elections will host demonstrations of the new voting optical scanner system according to the following schedule: Saturday, Aug, 28, 10 a.m. Tuxedo Town Hall Saturday Aug. 28, noon to 4 p.m., Galleria at Crystal Run Saturday,Aug. 28, noon to 4 p.m.,Newburgh Mall Monday, Aug. 30, 6:30 p.m., Goshen Town Hall Thursday, Sept. 2, 6:30 p.m., Blooming Grove Town Hall For a complete schedule, visit www.co.orange.ny.us/, select County Departments and then Board of Elections. You can also view a video demonstration at: www.vote-ny.com