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Woodbury County Voters to Use New Technology in Fall Election

The Woodbury County Board of Supervisors yesterday agreed to buy voting equipment that the county's top election official said could help reduce the chances of making mistakes when reporting vote tallies, according to the Sioux City Journal.

The county will spend $73,136 from its Capital Improvement Plan to buy new voting booths and modems. Poll workers in each of the county's 44 precincts will be able to electronically transmit the final totals to Woodbury County Auditor/Election Commissioner Patrick Gill.  Workers currently phone in the results and an election worker in Gill's office writes them down and enters the data into a computer.

In November's general election, a worker made a mistake when entering totals, resulting in the posting of erroneous vote counts on the county's election website. The conversion to modems will require fewer workers to be present in Gill's office on election night, reducing personnel costs in his office.

The board in September approved the purchase of 46 new optical-scan voting machines for $380,000, a portion of $500,000 that was approved for new voting equipment in a five-year Capital Improvement Plan. The machines did not arrive until after the November election. Gill said he expects the new machines, plus the modems and booths that were approved Tuesday, to be used in November during the countywide city council and school board elections.

Voters likely will not notice much of a change. They will still shade in ovals next to candidates' names and, when finished, place their ballot in the scanner, which will count their votes.

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