The Logan County Quorum Court passed a resolution last week declaring the county would utilize new voting machines, which County Election Commissioner Gary Eveld said are expected to be delivered this week.
The resolution was required, Evled said, because the state covered the costs of the machines, which will essentially be iPads.
However, the new system may cause the elimination of some polling places though the system remedies that in itself because any eligible voter can vote in any precinct in the county with the system.
“If someone works in Fort Smith and comes home (on election day) and stops in any polling place the system will pull up their ballot,” said Eveld.
For the May 22 primary two south side primaries — Barber and Petit Jean — were in jeopardy of closing due to a lack of poll workers but closure was ultimately avoided.
“Even people working the polls say ‘I don’t know why this poll is open. We only had 37 votes,’ and it costs the county $500 to open it,” said Eveld.
Precincts that may close are a couple on the north side of the county that Eveld said are simply too close to one another.
“There’s no reason for that, except when everybody had to ride a horse and it took three hours to go vote,” said Eveld.
Another problem that may cause a closure is the machines must have Internet access to be utilized, the commissioner said.
“Some places like Driggs are just in a hole. There’s no way to get service,” Eveld said.
Internet availability for the system, Eveld said, is only for poll workers to be able to verify a voter registration through the Logan County Clerk’s or Secretary of State’s offices because poll books will become a thing of the past.
The machines will contain no accessible voting information. Eveld said.
Also ceasing to exist will be paper ballots on election day.
“The only paper ballots will be absentee ballots,” Eveld said.
“It looks like an iPad,” Eveld restated. “When you’re done you will tell it to print your ballot and you will take the ballot and put it in a scanner and (the scanner) retains it and counts it.”
That, Eveld said, will speed up the counting process once the polls close.
“There won’t be any of this counter breaking down, it will just tell you what the numbers are,” he said. “We going to get results pretty quick.”
Election officials will get a look at the system this week and the company who sold the devices to the state will return in August for a two day training on use of the devices Eveld said.