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Voters to return to paper in '10 election

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By The Staff

SHEPHERDSVILLE -- The world of how you vote in elections will come full circle next spring.

When voters go to the polls in May, they will be using a thing of the past - paper ballots.

The Bullitt County Board of Elections has voted to change its system of voting machines as it has also split three precincts due to the number of registered voters.

Bullitt County Clerk Kevin Mooney said the board has opted to go with the Hart Intercivic eScan system at its 48 precincts and the in-office absentee machine.

The county would remain using the eSlate disabled voting machines, which is required by federal election standards.

Mooney said that by converting existing machines to conform to the disabled voting requirements, the county would only be looking to spend around $23,000.

In terms of purchasing the paper scanning tabulation machines, each precinct would cost $4,500. Mooney is also hoping to have four spare machines.

To provide more privacy when voting, since there would be the opportunity to multiple people to fill out the paper ballots at any one time, Mooney is looking to purchase shields.

The plan would be to have four shielded voting spaces per precinct.

Other equipment needed would bring the cost to $62,9779 since there is $198,000 sitting aside for the county at the state Secretary of State’s office for the purchase of voting machines.

There is the possibility that some other counties might be interested in purchasing the old machines, according to Mooney. Any revenue there would help pay for the freight charges of $6,890.

As the county goes from electronic to paper balloting, Walter Sholar said he has heard a lot of stories about that form of voting.

“When I hear paper ballots, it scares me a little,” said Sholar.

Mooney agreed.

While he would like to keep the current machines, Mooney said parts are no longer made and it is inevitable that the county must change. The progression across the county has been to go to paper ballots.

Mooney said safeguards would be put into place. Currently over 75 counties are using the paper system and reporting no major problems.

While a decision wasn’t mandatory at the meeting, magistrate Eddie Bleemel said it didn’t appear there was a choice.

The court approved taking bids for the new machines.

About the system...

Voters would mark the boxes on the paper ballots and slide the ballot into a eScan machine. That would tabulate the vote and it would be placed on a memory card. At the end of the night, the votes from the eScan and the disabled units would be tabulated.