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Cape Gazette
Lewes, Delaware
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April 26, 1996     Cape Gazette
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April 26, 1996
 

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Voting machines going high tech for Sussex elections By Michael Short On May 11, Sussex County vot- ers will take a step into the future as the state's new voting machines are unveiled. The occasion will be the Lewes City Council election and the new voting machines will be used for the first time in Sussex. They are designed to be lightweight, handi- capped accessible, easy to use and less confusing than the old ma- chines. "It's going to bring us from a rowboat to a motorboat," said Di- ctor of the Sussex County Elec- tion Department Ken McDowell. The biggest change for voters is that the new machines work by touch. Touch the candidate's name of your choice and a light appears beside that candidate's name and a vote is cast. Change your mind before you leave the voting booth and you can touch another name to change your vote. There are no levers to pull and McDowell is banking on the new machines causing less confusion and less uncertainty. The new ma- chines are hardly a gamble for the state, because they have been used successfully in 20 states. Tile machines are handicapped accessible and lighter in weight and they will count votes faster and reduce the chance of a human error when votes are tabulated. To cast a write in vote on the new ma- chine, simply touch the write in spot. A small slot will open and you write in the candidate's name of your choice. The simpler process may mean more write in votes, McDowell said. "The Electronic 1242 Voting Machine or a version of it is cur- rently used in 20 other states," ac- cording to Tom Cook, state elec- tion commissioner. "These ma- chines replace the mechanical lever machines that have been used for the past 40 years in Delaware elections." McDowell said the state was looking for a machine with a proven track record and they think Michael Short photo Election officials are ready to premiere new cutting edge voting machines using the latest technology at the Lewes city election. The machines are designed to be easier to use and eliminate the need to throw levers to choose candidates. Shown with one of the new voting machines are Charles Short Oeft) and Richard Spicer of the election department. they have it in this machine. Pre- viously, votes had to be tabulated by hand after the polls closed. This machine produces a tape with a record of the ballots cast, which reduces the chance of hu- man error. Among the advantages of the new machines is that they have rubber wheels and weigh 180 pounds. That makes them eas- ier to move than the 800 pound monster machines which make McDowell flinch at the memory of all the floors they scratched. The new machines are being demonstrated at a variety of loca- tions before being showcased at the Lewes town election, chosen as "the first town in the first state." Here's a list of some local times and places for anyone who wants to see the cutting edge technology voting machines: May 1 and May 8 at Lewes City Hall from 1 to 8 p.m., May 3 at Mellon Bank and Wilmington Trust (both in Lewes) from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and May 6 and May 10 at Lewes City Hall from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., May 7 at Lewes City Hall from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and May 9 at Lewes City Hall from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is still the goal of the Depart- ment of Elections to implement the new voting machines into the state election process on Septem- ber 7 for the primary election and November 5 for the general elec- tion. Any organization wishing to have a personal demonstration of the new machines may call their local Department of Elections at 856-5367 in Sussex County. From left, Agnes Johnson, former Cape Henlopen Senior Center program director, along with Katharine Smith and Peggy Robertson, gather around one of the new computerized voting machines which will be used in this year's election. This demonstration took place recently at Cape Henlopen Se- nior Center in Rehoboth Beach. The ladies found the ma- chines to be user friendly. CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, April 26 - May 2, 1996 - 15 OPEN H O us_e AT PLANTATIONS! Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Come by and tour Townhomes, Courtyard (cluster) homes, Villas and Single-Family Homes. Buy Nowl On selected units, you'll receive $2,300 worth of special benefits. More Information? Call Brad at 302/645-2424. From Route 1, rum west st Midway Shopping Centertreffic IIgM onto Postal Lane, then right on 275. ,_A.I00[ENT LYNCI00,AI00I00 A 1" 1" 0 R N E Y $ A T L A W 6 Stone Hill Road. P.O. Box 2328. Wilmington, DE 19899 Takes pleasure in announcing the opening of their Sussex County Office effective May 1, 1996. Automobile Accidents Serious Personal Injury Medical Malpractice Workers Compensation Real Estate Settlements 1-800-773-2599 DEDICATED PERSONAL SERVICE EVENING/WEEKEND APPOINTMENTS 645-4545 RED MILL CENTER ROUTE 1, LEWES Listing of areas of practice does not represent official certification as a specialist in those areas.