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Columbiana signs voting machine contract with Nebraska company



Published: Wed, February 9, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



LISBON -- The Columbiana County Board of Elections voted 4-0 to award a contract to Election Systems & amp; Software to supply optical-scan voting machines.

The Omaha, Neb., company will replace the county's old-fashioned punch-card machines in time for the November general election.

John Payne, the board's executive director, said Monday after the vote that board members chose the company over Diebold Election Systems of North Canton primarily because ES & amp;S had a better system for assisting the blind. He said blind people can wear earphones and vote using a keypad. The machine will read back voters' choices to make sure they have selected their preferred candidates.

"Both systems were very similar, but it came down to the [Americans with Disabilities Act] compliant units that you'll have to have," he said.

Under the system, voters will mark choices on a paper ballot, which will be recorded by the machine as it is fed through. One advantage is that the machine will spit out a ballot on which a voter has marked too many choices, giving him or her a chance to correct the mistake.

Although the state will pay for the new machines, the county will have to pay 20 cents to 40 cents for each ballot, Payne said.

"The printing cost will go up. It will probably more than double," he said.




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