The Morgan County primary election went off without a hitch yesterday thanks in part to some new machinery. Yesterday’s primary election was the first real-world test for the county’s new voting machines, which were approved in September of last year by the Morgan County Commissioners at a total cost of nearly $400,000.00
Morgan County Clerk Jill Waggener says the old system had been used for more than 20 years and although they were secure, after years of wear and tear it was time for an upgrade.
Waggener says overall, the general primary election went very smoothly. “There were no issues, I am very happy with the way the election went yesterday. My election judges were pros in handling the new machines and just really did a great job.”
A number of election judges said following the election last night that only minor trouble was had with the new machines, reporting issues such as having trouble figuring out how to remove the voting record tape or unplug a cord from the machines. The machines were also praised for making the process of closing the polls more efficient by many of the election judges.
The new touch screen system prints a paper ballot for the voter to then insert into the ballot box. It’s a feature that several election judges commented on yesterday, that they feel it helps voters have more faith in an electronic system. Use of the new machines was up some over previous elections, with several polling precincts reporting a nearly 50/50 split between paper and electronic ballots.
Waggener says she has 14 days to certify the election by law, however, she anticipates it will be much sooner with no races being considered a close call in the county. She says it will be a quick turnaround ahead of the general election.
“We will close the primary election first and then we will have just a few weeks of no election thoughts and then we will turn right around in September and get ready for the general election in November, so a pretty quick turnaround.”
The general election this year will be held on Tuesday, November 8th.