Montgomery County unveils new voting machines

The Montgomery County Board of Elections unveiled new $8 million election equipment that the board says will make voting easier and quicker.

Tuesday was the first day of early voting, and the Board of Elections held an open house to give the public an opportunity to come see the new, “state-of-the-art” voting equipment. The 2019 general election will be on Nov. 5.

Jan Kelly, director of the Montgomery County Board of Elections, said the county researched voting systems for nearly two years before deciding on the new equipment.

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“This is a lot more simple compared to our machines before,” Kelly said.

With the old voting system, there were 2,300 media devices that the results were loaded onto at the end of the day. There are now 320 media devices, Kelly said.

“For us as election officials, it will be easier to download them on election night because there won’t be so much media to download,” Kelly said.

Deputy Director of the Board of Elections Steve Harsman said he fully expects to be able to release election results in a quicker manner because the process is more streamlined.

“This should expedite the process,” Kelly said.

MORE: Several voting precincts affected by Memorial Day tornadoes

With the new system, voters will check in and then can either choose to use a paper ballot or to do the entire ballot digitally. Once a voter completes a digital ballot, it is printed and put it into the ballot box. A voter who fills out a paper ballot will also put their ballot into the box.

Results from these ballots are then loaded onto the media devices.

The Board of Elections has partnered with federal, local and state agencies to ensure the voting system is secure. No voting system in Ohio is permitted to be connected to the internet, Kelly said, which adds a layer of security.

The Department of Homeland Security has also done a physical and viral assessment on the new system, Kelly said.

“(Cyber security) is on everybody’s radar,” Kelly said.

Kelly said voters can provide a drivers license or a military ID at the polls. To learn more about how or where to vote, Kelly said to visit the Montgomery County Board of Elections website or call the office at (937) 225-5656.

There is also a “tornado” tab on the website with information for voters who have been displaced by the Memorial Day tornadoes.

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