Early Carson City voters like new voting machines, clerk says

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Carson City election officials say the new Election Systems and Software voting machines are a hit with voters.

“They love it,” said Clerk Recorder Sue Merriwether. “They love the paper ballot.”

Unlike the old machines, which were removed from service after a decade, the new machines actually hand the voter a paper ballot when he or she is done so they can look to make sure the machine accurately recorded their choices.

Of course, before leaving the building they have to slide that paper ballot into the electronic ballot box at the end of the hall. That machine tallies the votes.

And voters have to surrender it because federal law prohibits a voter from taking a record of their vote with them.

Elections Deputy Aubrey Rowlatt said they haven’t had a problem at all with voters using the new machines which are easy to understand. Merriwether said they’re experiencing far fewer voters who need help than in the past.

And when the voting is done, she said the new system is, “so much easier for us.”

“At the end of the night we only have to look at the ballot box,” she said. “We don’t have to go to each machine.”

In addition, she said ESS experts have been “here every step of the way,” making sure everything goes smoothly.

The turnout this early voting period, however, has been “very disappointing” — especially among younger voters. Rowlatt said as of midday Thursday, 1,274 Carson residents had voted.

But the vast majority were seniors. By age group, 362 over age 75 had voted along with 487 aged 65-74 and 273 from 55 to 64.

After that, participation drops off rapidly. Just 86 voters between 45 and 54 had cast ballots along with 27 voters aged 35-44.

For voters from 25 to 34, only 20 had turned out in the first week of early voting and just 14 of those between 18 and 24.

Part of the issue may be there aren’t any primary races for Carson City local offices.

However, there’s still a week left in early voting followed by primary election day June 12.


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