Some Ohio Voters Will Get to Test Voting Machines Ahead of 2020 Race

Montgomery County is hosting a mock election to give constituents a chance to weigh in on which machines it buys.

by Chris Stewart, Dayton Daily News / September 12, 2018
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(TNS) — Montgomery County, Ohio, voters will get to try out several ballot-casting systems the county is considering to buy for future elections.

The Montgomery County Board of Elections will open its doors for a “Mock Election Open House”  at the County Administration Building in Dayton Sept. 18.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our citizens to test out new voting equipment options and provide meaningful feedback in the decision making process,” said elections board Director Jan Kelly. “We invite all members of the public to participate in a mock election while getting a chance to see, touch and test voting equipment.”

Kelly said earlier that many county voters will likely be marking paper ballots in the future rather than voting on touchscreen machines now in use.

“It could be a departure for the polling locations,” Kelly said last month. “They really aren’t like what we have now.”

The state of Ohio is distributing $114.5 million to Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections to update voting equipment in advance of the 2020 presidential election. Replacing all of Montgomery County’s current voting equipment is projected to cost $8 million. Montgomery County is expected to receive $4.2 million to $4.5 million in state funding, according to the county.

Voters in Montgomery County along with those in Butler, Darke, Greene and Miami counties and 36 others, currently use DRE machines, or direct-recording electronic voting machines that have touchscreens.

Nationwide, 47 percent of American registered voters in November 2016 lived in jurisdictions using only optical-scan technology that requires voters to fill in bubbles, complete arrows or make other machine-readable marks on paper; 28 percent lived in DRE-only jurisdictions; another 19 percent lived in jurisdictions where both were used, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Verified Voting Foundation data.

Free parking and refreshments will be provided at the Mock Election Open House. For information, contact the Montgomery County Board of Elections at 937-225-5656.

©2018 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.