WEAU | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | News

Several Wis. counties to use new voting machines

By: Sarah Moon, AP Email
By: Sarah Moon, AP Email

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Elections in La Crosse County are going high tech.

La Crosse County Clerk Ginny Dankmeyer said they received new voting machines, because the old ones are outdated, starting to break and it was getting hard to find certified replacement parts.

“We had a break in the election cycle last year with only two elections so it was the perfect time to go look at what’s out there, and then make a decision on what’s going to be best for the county and the voters,” said Dankmeyer.

Dankmeyer said with the new voting machines, a screen will come up if there is a problem when a ballot is fed, and if the ballot went through another screen will come up saying everything is ok.

“So the voter is assured that their ballot went in and it was counted and accepted,” said Dankmeyer.

The new voting machines will also scan and record an image of a ballot on a memory stick.

Dankmeyer said this will make it easier if there’s any open records request, because she won’t have to sort through ballots.”

“To the most part the voter they won’t notice a difference,” said Dankmeyer.

La Crosse County Democratic Party chair Vicki Burke said the Democratic Party values voters having a chance to cast their ballots.

“Voting is a very, very important right that citizens have, and it’s important that we make sure we update our technology regularly that this is a good thing for them,” said Burke.

Republican Representative Kathy Bernier said integrity at elections is important to voters.

“So there's a lot of Independents out there and they care just as much that their vote counts and that that ballot is going to be counted once they put it in the machine so I don't see it as a partisan issue now and I never have,” said Bernier.

The new voting machines will be used starting with the primary election on February 18.

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Several Wisconsin counties will be using new voting machines in upcoming elections.

A Wisconsin Public Radio report says the new machines are intended to be more secure and reliable.

For example, when a ballot is fed into the new machines, the screen will show whether it was accepted properly or whether there was a problem.

The machine will also scan and record an image of the ballot. Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell says the process is randomized so the ballot isn't linked to a specific person, but the image provides another record of the ballot in case something happens to the original.

The new machines will go into use in Brown, Dane, Jefferson, and La Crosse counties. McDonell says Portage and Wood counties already have these types of voting machines.


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