The Marshall County Post

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Voting: New Machines & New Hours

Posted on Thursday, February 8, 2024 at 10:00 am

By TRACY HARRIS -Staff Writer

Janet Heckle, Chairman of Marshall County Election Commission, beside the new MicroVote machines that will be used in Marshall County.

Voters had a chance to preview new voting machines on Tuesday, Jan. 30, from 10 a.m. to noon. The new machines were on display in room 2204 on the second floor in the Courthouse Annex. Andrew Robertson, Administrator of Elections and Janet Heckle, Board of Elections Chairman were onsite to show how things work.

The new VVPAT – Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail allows voters to verify their vote will be cast correctly before hitting “cast vote”.

The voting process is almost identical to prior years with one difference – before you hit “cast vote”, you can verify the accuracy on a “paper” ballot to the right. Once you look at the paper copy, you can make changes if needed or you can hit cast vote if all information is correct. The tally paper looks similar to receipt paper but that paper is inside a secured box. Practice ballots were already loaded on both machines so that people could actually go through the entire process.

The state provided five companies with approved voting machines that Marshall County could choose from: ES&S ExpressVote, ES&S Optical Scan, Hart Verity, MicroVote Infinity with VVPAT, and Unisyn Optical Scan. Since the county has used the MicroVote in the past, they felt confident to use them again. Statewide, 44 of Tennessee’s 95 counties are using MicroVote.

According to Robertson, there are 49 machines including a few spares to use across the nine precincts on Election Day. People were already there waiting to see the new machines before it started at 10 that morning. Robertson and Heckle estimated between 30 and 40 people showed up in the two hours they were there. “We got very positive feedback today,” he said.

There were sheets onsite with information on MicroVote, early voting schedules, and new Election Day hours. The only change to anything this year is for Election Day on March 5, 2024. Instead of 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., it will be 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Again, this is not for early voting. Please see the Sample Ballot and Early Voting Dates and Hours in this edition of the newspaper for more information.