[EM] Fla. Rids Itself of Punch-Card Ballots

DEMOREP1 at aol.com DEMOREP1 at aol.com
Wed Sep 5 18:25:07 PDT 2001

I presume that it will be possible to have some advanced voting choices (1, 
2, etc.-- ratings) with the higher tech touchscreens.

Fla. Rids Itself of Punch-Card Ballots
CALLAHAN, Fla. (AP) - With punch card ballots banned in Florida after last 
fall's election fiasco, communities across the state are looking into new 
voting equipment. 

On Tuesday, 150 voters in this tiny north Florida community became the first 
to put to the test one of the two state-approved options - touchscreen voting 

``No more hanging, dimpled or pregnant chads,'' Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan said 
after getting a demonstration of the machines, which work like automated 
teller machines. 

Tuesday's election in Callahan, a town of 527 registered voters, was for 
three of its four town council members. 

In the last presidential election, the two Callahan precincts had 133 
overvotes and 12 undervotes, or blank votes. There were no blanks Tuesday, 
though one person walked out without voting. 

``We had absolutely no problems,'' said Vicki Peterson Cannon, Nassau County 
supervisor of elections. ``The citizens, regardless of their race or age or 
anything, they were just extremely pleased and we're pleased as well.'' 

In future elections statewide, Florida voters will have to use either 
touchscreen or optical scanning machines, similar to the scanners used to 
score standardized school tests. 

Punch cards were banned because of their role in the recounts and court 
fights that delayed the results of the 2000 presidential election by more 
than a month. 

The touchscreens will not let voters cast more than one vote in each race. 
They will allow voters to skip a race, but will ask them if they are doing so 

``It was very, very easy, and I liked the fact that you could review your 
ballot,'' said Callahan voter JoAnn Swafford, 56. 

Election Systems and Software of Omaha, Neb., is the only company now 
certified by the state to sell touchscreen machines. The company offered 
Callahan free use of the technology for Tuesday's election, Cannon said. 

Buying enough of the machines for Nassau County's 38,000 registered voters 
would cost about $700,000. 

Touchscreens have been in use for several years in Greensboro, N.C., and have 
seen some use in Dallas, said Dan McGinnis, vice president sales for ES&S. 

The touchscreens are more expensive than optical scanning systems but they 
could save money in big counties by eliminating the cost of printing and 
storing paper ballots. Florida's Pasco County, north of Tampa, has already 
contracted with ES&S to begin a move to touchscreens. 

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