6 New Technology, Greater Security Coming to Primary By: Jordan Kelch, Public Relations The Jefferson County Election Center has always operated with a focused mission, ensuring all registered voters in our community are presented with fair, secure and accessible elections. In order to continue fulfilling this mission, the JCCO has consistently worked to improve services among many areas: identifying growing neighborhoods and guaranteeing large, appropriate polling locations in convenient areas; training a community of election officers on protocol and statutes; growing registration numbers and making information on party affiliation, registration and polling locations easily accessible. Another piece of this missions consists of staying with the times – offering modern technology that is efficient, safe and user-friendly. Over the last year, incredible strides have been made in this arena with the purchase of new voting equipment. Unveiled at the Clerk’s annual Voter Registration Day celebration, the DS200 and ExpressVote are the final word in 21st century voting technology. Like the AccuVote machine before it, the DS200 utilizes a scantron system, reading all markings on a paper ballot and tabulating the results. However, the DS200 also takes digital copies of each ballot, allowing all information and results to be saved to a flash drive. A LED display screen is present, assisting voters in how to properly insert their ballot while also confirming the scanning and acceptance of each vote. Set-up is simple, enabling poll workers to essentially open the hood of the DS200…and that’s it. Couple that with the fact that, because the equipment is never connected to the internet, risk of interference is all but impossible. Ballot security, too, is improved. After being accepted into the machine, the DS200 drops the paper ballots into a secured box towards the bottom of the unit; when the box is pulled from the machine (to be taken to a receiving station), latches automatically lock, ensuring only election officers can access these documents. The ExpressVote takes the place of the AccuTouch machine, however this device can serve all voters, including those with special needs. By combining paper ballot voting and touch screen technology, the ExpressVote allows voters to select candidates with a movable keypad. While it, too, utilizes a paper ballot, this machine enables voters to decide between voting by hand or voting by screen. Of course, with new equipment comes great change. Election Officer training sessions have been reconfigured with the materials being revised. Handbooks have been updated, presentations revamped, training personnel redesignated. The process has been far more complicated than simply purchasing equipment (which, in and of itself, was also a lengthy proceeding). However, the Clerk’s Office has ensured that all transitions run smooth and all boxes have been checked. In other words, this Office is ready for an election year. The new equipment need not wait until Election Day; it will get plenty of use come April when In-House Absentee Voting kicks off at the Edison Center. In fact, Monday April 9th will be the first day for In-House, and the program is set to run through Monday, May 21st (the day before the Primary Election). Available Monday – Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, the Election Center will also offer two Saturdays: May 12th and May 19th from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. To be eligible for Absentee Voting, registered voters must be: outside of the county on Election Day; a student who temporarily resides outside of the county on Election Day; A member of the Armed Forces who will either be out of the county on Election Day, or confined to a base within the county on Election Day; a citizen who is residing overseas and will be out of the country on Election Day; a voter who has surgery scheduled on or around Election Day; a Precinct Election Officer serving at a polling location; member or staff of the County Board of Elections; a woman in her last trimester of pregnancy; and an unassisted visually impaired voter. With new technology and revamped processes, the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office and Election Center look forward to the Kentucky Primary on Tuesday, May 22nd. For more information on polling locations, voter registration, specific deadlines and sample ballots, visit our website at elections. jeffersoncountyclerk.org.