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Medina County Board of Elections tests paper ballot system

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Workers at the Medina County Board of Election show community members how to use new voting systems and answer questions. ALYSSA ALFANO / GAZETTE

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MEDINA TWP. — A mock election at the Medina County Board of Elections gave residents and county officials an opportunity Friday to test new voting machines.

This is in advance of plans by the county to purchase new equipment to replace its current supply of voting machines that are outdated and difficult to repair.

Board of Elections Director Carol Lawler said the trial run’s turnout of 50 residents gave county officials good feedback.

A paper system was featured Friday. Voters arrived and checked in as normal. They were then given a paper ballot to fill out.

The paper ballots were then fed into a scanner, provided by the company Clear Ballot, which recorded each mock vote.

“We’re not sure because I think we need more training,” said Medina resident Patricia Kwas, who was speaking with fellow resident Billie Hays about how they felt about the system. “We don’t know if this will slow down the voting.”

“We don’t think we have a big, full picture as to how this is gonna work,” Hays said.

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Gaye Richins walks Medina voter Roger Safford through the check-in process. ALYSSA ALFANO / GAZETTE

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Senate Bill 135 provides more than $100 million in state funding for new voting machines in various counties. The goal is to get new machines in place prior to the November 2019 general election. It’s a state mandate that the machines be ready for the 2020 presidential election.

The county is using TSX touch-screen voting machines that are 13 years old.

Lawler said a second mock election will be held and will feature a newer model of touch screen machines.

“There are some people in Medina who have just gotten so used to the touch screen,” she said. “The touch screens that are available now are a hybrid and so we will have another mock election with one of those companies, too.”

New machines will address some maintenance concerns that pop up when dealing with older technology.

“We’ve had them for so many years, I think

13 or 14 years,” she said. “You can’t get pieces for them any more. We are kind of repairing them ourselves.”

The search for new machines will not affect the Nov. 6 general election.

For more information, call the board of elections at (330) 722-9278 or visit www.medinacountyelections.org/.

Contact reporter Alyssa Alfano at (330) 721-4063 or aalfano@medina-gazette.com.
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