Elections officials test paper-balloting voting machines

By David Skolnick



After testing its new paper-ballot voting machines, Mahoning County Board of Elections officials say they are ready for today’s general election.

Board officials tested the equipment Monday at their office in Oakhill Renaissance Place on Oak Hill Avenue on the city’s South Side.

“We feel pretty confident,” said Thomas McCabe, the board’s director, about the new voting machines.

It’s been “busy” at the board since July, he said.

During that month, board employees verified 31,251 signatures from registered county voters on petitions to place Issue 2 on today’s ballot.

If approved, the issue would restrict some collective- bargaining rights for public employees.

Then the board moved its office in September from the South Side Annex to Oakhill.

At the same time, the board moved from electronic touch-screen voting to paper ballots.

“It’s been crazy, but we’re set for Election Day,” McCabe said. “We’ve put in a lot of work in a short time.”

Those who voted early in this general election in Mahoning County total 17,396.

About 60,000 to 65,000 voters are expected to cast ballots at their polling locations in the county today.

The county is buying 140 optical-scanner machines to count paper ballots for $792,257 over six years.

Under the new system, those voting at the polls will be given paper ballots with paper sleeves to put them in after voting at private voting booths.

Then voters go to the optical scanners and place their paper ballots into the machine to be counted.

Memory cards carrying the results from those scanners will be brought to the board of elections for the count.

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