Mason voters experience new technology while voting

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"Vote here" sign with red, white and blue balloons

Joe Grimm

Balloons and a sign beckoned voters to come in and try Masons new voting machines in the Nov. 7 election.

On Nov. 7, Mason voters were given the opportunity to use new voting machines.

Sarah Jarvis, Mason’s new city clerk, said that the election was steady, and nothing like a presidential election. Jarvis explained that they have had a lot of technological advances for this election.

“The tabulator has a screen on it now that will show an error if they mark the ballot incorrectly,” said Jarvis. “For the most part, it usually will just say ballot casted successfully. It kinda puts the responsibility into the voters hands. They can then hit the return button and the ballot will come back to them and then they would have the opportunity to fix their ballot. For the next generation of voters coming up, it will be really easy for them to use.”

Another advancement for this election was the Voter Assistant Terminal, VAT for short. The machine is accessible for everyone.

“It’s a terminal that doesn’t cast the vote, but it creates a ballot,” said Jarvis. “It’s a touch-screen system, or it can be an ADA accessible one where there’s a pad they can use. It’s got headphones for if they were hearing impaired. It also has braille on it so if they were blind they could still vote. Then, it prints the ballot for you that can go into the new tabulators.”

Jarvis says that she would not be surprised if we see more VAT machines in the future.

“A lot of precincts are thinking of using it for more voters because It’s like a touch-screen iPad, said Jarvis. “You can see your ballot, print it off, and there’s no room for error. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s something that in long term we’ll see more and more of. We only have one for all three precincts, but we have everybody in the same room.”

Mason voters came steady the entire day and tried out the new technology.

Peter Curtis, Precinct 2 chairman, talked about the election this year and how he is glad to see so many people at the polls.

“I’m glad to see people get out and exercise their right to vote,” said Curtis.

Voter Kerrie Phaus was clear on the importance of voting. “You have to. It’s your voice and it’s really important.”

Mason voter Karen Hagerman said, “It’s our right and duty to come out and vote. It’s a privilege.”