Voters will use new machines in Fayette County
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky’s primary election is less than a week away and in Fayette County, voters will be using a new type of voting machine.
What do you want to know
- The old voting machines were over 15 years old
- The new devices were purchased before the 2020 election, but not used
- Kentucky has mandated paper ballots
- Fayette County Clerk says new machines are faster and easier to use
Purchased before the pandemic began but not used in the 2020 election, Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins Jr. said the machines, called InterCivic and made by the Hart Company, use a ballot filled out by voter, then scanned in a scanner. by the voter while he is still in the voting booth.
“There’s a special machine on the side called a touchscreen writer for accessibility by people who need that kind of assistance to vote,” Blevins said. “This machine allows you to register your vote electronically and then press the button when you’re done. It spits out a paper ballot that contains how you chose to vote, then you feed it through a scanner. In the end, everyone votes on a sheet of paper and feeds it into a scanner. »
Blevins said there were several reasons behind the unveiling of the new machines for the 2022 mid-terms.
“It was definitely time for an upgrade,” he said. “Our old machines were starting to be 15 years old and we were having normal hardware and mechanical issues. It was about time in that regard.
Blevins said the trend across the country is to use paper ballots and shortly after Fayette County purchased its new machines, the Kentucky Board of Elections voted to mandate the use of paper ballots. paper machines only in the commonwealth.
“I think the public is much more comfortable knowing that at the end of the day, if something goes wrong, we can always hand-count one ballot at a time if we have to. It’s kind of a comfort,” Blevins said. “I don’t think it’s any safer or any safer than what we used to do. It’s just that it provides that level of comfort to the audience.
The new machines are also more user-friendly.
“Another thing I like about these new machines is that I think it’s a lot easier for a voter,” Blevins said. “The machines we had in Fayette County had these little wheels and it confused some people – it had a bit of a clunky user interface. They were considered state-of-the-art when purchased in 2005 or 2006.”
Another advantage of using the new machines benefits Kentucky voters and clerk’s offices: speed.
“We can send a ballot to one voter and multiple voters can vote simultaneously, whereas with old electronic machines you can only get one person per machine at a time,” Blevins said. “Now we can set up multiple voting booths and allow people to fill in their ballot very quickly.”
Early voting in Kentucky is May 12-14. Polling stations are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Election Day.
There are four ways to vote in Kentucky’s upcoming primary. Blevins said people who cannot vote in person for age or health reasons can mail in an absentee ballot or drop it off at their local county clerk’s office. People who may be out of town on Election Day and who have already requested a mail-in ballot can vote by mail in person at the clerk’s office until May 12.
Early voting in Fayette County takes place at Kroger Field. People can enter from the Alumni Drive side, park in the Blue Lot and drive to Gate 11.
To find out all about next week’s election, go to Spectrum News 1 Voter’s Guide either on our website or on our free news app