Carson City’s new voting machines get favorable reviews

Supervisor Brad Bonkowski checks in for early voting with Deputy Clerk Beth Phelps Thursday at the County Courthouse.

Supervisor Brad Bonkowski checks in for early voting with Deputy Clerk Beth Phelps Thursday at the County Courthouse.

“It’s easy.”

That’s what Carson City resident Jacob Roberts said when asked about Carson City’s new voting machines.

“It’s very easy, clean looking, and simple,” said Roberts, who was one of 52 attendees at the Carson City Clerk-Recorders open house Thursday on voting equipment that will debut at this year’s election.

At the event held at the recorder’s office where early voting takes place, attendees voted in a short, mock election to learn how to use the new machines.

“I think this is a good step forward in voter confidence. You get a tangible item that shows what you voted,” said resident Maurice White. “I think voters will be happy with the system.”

Staff in the Clerk-Recorder’s office, who have been training on the equipment this week, were pleased, too.

“We love the electronic poll books,” said Beth Phelps, deputy clerk. “The whole system, the express vote, the tabulator, the back end, it’s all very streamlined, very efficient.”

The new equipment, made by Election Systems & Software, includes new electronic log books that print out a paper ballot voters insert into a touchscreen machine. The voter is then prompted to make selections and when done the readable paper ballot is spit back out.

The voter can verify the votes were recorded correctly and then deposit the paper slip in a ballot box, which scans it and saves the votes to a memory stick locked inside. The paper ballot drops inside the box and is retained, too.

When voting ends on election day, the memory sticks will be taken from each of five ballot boxes and the results downloaded to a standalone PC and into a database.

None of the equipment — voting machines, ballot boxes, or database PC — is connected to the Internet.

Margaret DosSantos, account manager and trainer with the equipment maker, said none of the equipment has modems and none has installed remote access software, software used by technicians to work on computers remotely, which could pose a security risk.

The Nevada Legislature in 2017’s session set aside $8 million to provide half the cost of new voting equipment for each of the state’s 17 counties. Carson City’s new equipment cost about $397,000, and was funded with $231,388 from the state and the remainder from the Clerk-Recorders office budget.


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