Using funds from the federal Help America Vote Act, the Caldwell County Board of Elections has upgraded its voting equipment.
“Our Board saw this federal funding as a way to upgrade the equipment we have been using for nearly 20 years without spending county funds,” said Caldwell County Board of Elections Director Chad Barnes. “We are very thankful to have received these funds and want to put them to good use in improving and updating our voting equipment now and for the future.
To save both time and money, the Board purchased four Ballot on Demand® (BOD) printing systems to use at One-Stop early voting sites. The BOD systems allow election officials to print ballots as needed. This will allow us to order a much smaller percentage of preprinted ballots. With the new system, a ballot can be printed as the voter checks in.
“The ability to print ballots as needed will save money on printing costs, particularly in elections with low voter turnout,” explained Barnes.
The system includes multiple security features, including: encryption, audit logs, and system access controls, designed to prevent misuse.
In addition to the BOD system, the Board also purchased federal and state certified ExpressVote a ballot marking devices for early voting sites and each precinct. The touch-screen systems include visual aids and an audio-tactile keypad, making the unit ADA compliant.
Most Caldwell County voters mark their votes on a paper ballot and insert it into a tabulator at their polling place. The ExpressVote machines will be available to anyone who wishes to use them to mark their ballot. They allow voters with disabilities to vote independently without assistance.
After a voter makes their selections on the touch-screen machine, a paper record is printed so the voter can verify their selections before inserting it into a tabulator.
“We want to make casting a ballot easy for every voter,” said Barnes, “and these systems are great tools to help us achieve that goal.”
The Board was also able to purchase a new high speed scanner/tabulator, which will assist in precinct sorts, recounts, and tabulating high volume of absentee by-mail ballots. And the Board purchased, election management software, designed to improve workflow, and security carts, which keeps election equipment and supplies locked safe and secure during transport to each precinct and locked when not in use.
“These tools equip us to make voting more accessible, more secure, and the ability to tabulate results more efficiently, while saving on election costs,” Barnes concluded. “I’m excited to see this equipment at work in our upcoming elections.”