Martinsville debuts new voting machines

By  | 

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) Voters in several parts of our region cast their ballot on new machines Tuesday.

Election officials in several hometowns were forced to quickly replace equipment, after state officials decided some machines were vulnerable to hacking.

Martinsville is now using the AutoMark ballot-marking system.

If someone wants to use the equipment instead of filling out a ballot by hand, they make selections on the screen or by using a set of buttons.
The machine will then print out a completed ballot.

"It's just used for marking the ballot, should it be needed, and then it's counted through the optical scan machines with the rest of the ballots," says Martinsville General Registrar, Cynthia Barbour.

Martinsville now has eight of the machines; one for each precinct and a back-up just in case.

"We were a little more fortunate than some of the other localities. We only had to replace half of our machines instead of a whole complement of machines for voting purposes," says Barbour.

Because Virginia decided to do away with the other machines, Martinsville had to act fast to be good for election day, so they chose to rent the AutoMark machines until July.

"If we should have a primary, June primary, then we would have the same equipment until then and then we'll be in a new fiscal year and by then we'll be able to figure out what we need to do," says Barbour.

The registrar says they used the machines during absentee voting and it was a smooth process.

She said it takes a little longer, but everything comes out accurately.