Youngstown voters will be the first to use the new electronic equipment.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County voters and officials will get their first look at the county's new electronic voting system Thursday morning.
That's when the board of elections will kick off a monthlong educational campaign to make as many people as possible familiar with the new voting machines, said Thomas McCabe, deputy director.
"The more people see it before they step into a voting booth, the better off we will be," McCabe said.
In February, commissioners approved the purchase of a $2.9 million voting system from Election Systems and Software of Omaha, Neb.
The new equipment uses computerized, touch-screen voting machines instead of traditional paper ballots and pencils. They will be used at all Youngstown voting precincts for the May primary election, McCabe said.
Campbell and Struthers were originally supposed to have new machines for the May election, but McCabe said the board felt there was not enough time to bring everyone, including poll workers and voters, up to speed.
"We felt it would be best to scale back the plan a little bit and focus on the city for now," he said.
More exposure: The new equipment is portable, and election workers want to take it on the road from now until election day, McCabe said. Workers plan to visit civic groups, block watch meetings, churches and any other place where prospective voters will be gathered.
"We want to give as many people as possible a chance to see this equipment before they have to use it," he said.
The rest of the county will be brought on line with the new system in time for the general election in November, McCabe said. Similar educational efforts will be made then.
County Administrator Gary Kubic said the state-of-the-art system, which is being financed with a 10-year loan, will be one of the best in Ohio.
"Very few other counties have a system like this," Kubic said. "We're way ahead of the game on this."