New vot­ing sys­tem to be used in pri­mary elec­tion

Record Observer - - News - By HAN­NAH COMBS hcombs@kibay­times.com

CENTREVILLE — The Queen Anne’s County Board of Elec­tions un­veiled the new vot­ing sys­tem that will be used in Mary­land for the first time dur­ing the pri­mary elec­tions in April. A demon­stra­tion of the sys­tem and how it works was held on Wed­nes­day, March 30, at the Kramer Cen­ter in Centreville. Board of Elec­tions staff were able to show res­i­dents ex­actly what to ex­pect when they come in April to vote.

The sys­tem is very sim­ple, ex­plained Board of Elec­tions clerk Chris­tine Jones. When vot­ers ar­rive they ver­ify their reg­is­tra­tion as be­fore and re­ceive a bal­lot for ei­ther the Repub­li­can or Demo­crat party.

“Vot­ers reg­is­tered as In­de­pen­dents or Other, do not vote in the pri­mary,” Jones said.

The bal­lot, which is pa­per, is then taken to pri­vacy booth and en­tries are recorded by fill­ing in the cir­cle next to the can­di­date you wish to vote for, she said. The bal­lot can be car­ried in a folder or pri­vacy sleeve over to the op­ti­cal scan unit and in­serted.

Staff mem­ber Cathy Que- sen­berry agreed it is a fairly sim­ple process. The scan unit that the pa­per bal­lot is en­tered into records the num­ber of bal­lots read and the in­di­vid­ual votes on each bal­lot.

The ma­chine does ac­count to some ex­tent for hu­man er­ror, Que­sen­berry said. For ex­am­ple, if a voter “over votes” — or se­lects too many can­di­dates — for pres­i­dent, the ma­chine will ask the voter to ver­ify their se­lec­tion or give the op­tion to re­turn the bal­lot.

Corrections are lim­ited to three at­tempts, said Jones.

Vot­ers in Queen Anne’s County will also have ac­cess to a de­vice that is ADA com­pli­ant for vot­ers who are vi- su­ally im­paired or oth­er­wise un­able to com­plete a pa­per bal­lot, said Jones.

Early vot­ing for the Pres­i­den­tial Pri­mary be­gins April 14 and con­tin­ues through April 21. Polling places for early vot­ing are the Kent Is­land Fire Depart­ment and the Kramer Cen­ter in Centreville. Lo­ca­tions are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Elec­tion day is Tues­day, April 26. Vot­ers on that day will vote in the polling place des­ig­nated by their precinct.

Jones said she is hope­ful to see a larger than usual turn out.

“Other states have been re­port­ing good num­bers in the early elec­tions, I hope that will be the same in Mary­land,” she said.

Jones rec­om­mends mak­ing use of the early vot­ing loca- tions and/or avoid­ing peak times on elec­tion day, which tend to be im­me­di­ately be­fore and af­ter work and dur­ing lunch.

For more in­for­ma­tion or to regis­ter to vote, con­tact the Queen Anne’s County Board of Elec­tions at 132 North Com­merce Street in Centreville, 410-758-0832, or visit the web­site at www.qac­elec­tions. com.

PHOTOS BY HAN­NAH COMBS

Robert Arake­lian prac­tices in­sert­ing his bal­lot dur­ing a demon­stra­tion pro­vided by the Queen Anne’s County Board of Elec­tions at the Kramer Cen­ter on Wed­nes­day,, March 30.

Ginger Arake­lian of Gra­sonville views a sam­ple bal­lot at the demon­stra­tion of Mary­land’s new vot­ing sys­tem at the Kramer Cen­ter in Centreville pro­vided by the Queen Anne’s County Board of Elec­tions.

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