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Craighead County voters will use new machines next November

2016 will be a very busy year for the Craighead County Election Commission.  Next year will feature the presidential election, and Craighead County voters will be making their decisions on new voting machines.  The Election Commission has approved a $465,153 budget for next year, which includes over $150,000 for purchasing the required machines. Commissioner Jeanette Robertson and says the machines are required statewide. The Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office says the machines come from Election Software and Systems.  They will be very similar to the electronic machines that have been used, in that voters can still select their choices on a touch-screen.  Robertson tells what will change with these new machines.

“For example, if I was working on Election Day, you would come in and tell me who you are and present your ID to me.  I will pull you up on my electronic device, like an iPad, and it will spit out a bar code,” said Robertson.  “That bar code is your ballot.  That bar code is taken by an election worker and they walk over and put it into a voting machine.  The machine will then scan the bar code and pull up the correct ballot.  You vote using the touch screen, like normal, and then it spits out a paper ballot.  You can actually check to make sure that you voted correctly by checking the paper ballot and then you place that in a paper ballot in another machine, which officially registers your vote.”

According to Robertson, the new machines will come to the county next year, but they will not be ready for the March primaries.  She says all workers must be trained on the new voting machines, which will happen next year in Little Rock.  The new machines will be used during next year’s November elections.  The Election Commission approved the 2016 budget and will now forward it to the Craighead County Quorum Court for the Court’s final approval.  In other news, Robertson said that there is a change of location for one of the polling places.  Voters who typically would vote at Central Baptist Church will now have to vote at Temple Baptist Church in Jonesboro.  She also reminded the commission about special elections this year, including the November 10th sales tax election in Jonesboro and a special election on a sales tax proposal in Cash that will take place in December.