Montgomery County voters can test-drive new voting machines

County is looking to change voting machines for the May 2019 election, ahead of the 2020 presidential race.

Montgomery County voters will get to test voting machines next week, casting their own ballots for the county’s next elections system.

The Montgomery County Board of Elections will open Tuesday for a “Mock Election Open House.” Residents can experience voting on several systems the county is considering to buy for future elections.

RELATED: Paper ballots likely to replace touchscreen voting for many area voters

“This is an exciting opportunity for our citizens to test out new voting equipment options and provide meaningful feedback in the decision making process,” said elections board Director Jan Kelly. “We invite all members of the public to participate in a mock election while getting a chance to see, touch and test voting equipment.”

MORE: Dayton to host first governor debate at UD

A vast majority of Ohio’s voting machines — purchased in 2005 and 2006 with federal funding — are becoming obsolete. The 2,300 touch-screen voting machines used in Montgomery County were built in 2003 using “technology from the Blackberry days,” Kelly has said.

State legislators approved distributing $114.5 million to Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections to update voting equipment in advance of the 2020 presidential election. Replacing all of Montgomery County’s current voting equipment is projected to cost $8 million. The county is expected to receive $4.2 to $4.5 million in state funding, according to elections officials.

Kelly said earlier that many county voters will likely be marking paper ballots in the future rather than voting on touchscreen machines like those now in use.

“It could be a departure for the polling locations,” Kelly said last month. “They really aren’t like what we have now.”

Voters in Montgomery County along with those in Butler, Darke, Greene and Miami counties and 36 others, currently use DRE machines, or direct-recording electronic voting machines that have touchscreens.

MORE: Ohioans may have to dig deep to cover cost of new voting machines

Nationwide, 47 percent of American registered voters in November 2016 lived in jurisdictions that use only optical-scan technology. Optical scan readers require voters fill in bubbles, complete arrows or make other machine-readable marks on paper. That year, 28 percent lived in DRE-only jurisdictions; another 19 percent lived in jurisdictions where both were used, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Verified Voting Foundation data.

The county plans to have new machines up and running for the May 2019 election and could end up with a couple types, Kelly said. Early voters at the Board of Elections may use a hybrid system with a touchscreen while those who vote at their precincts may cast votes on paper with a marker.

Elections officials are now preparing for Nov. 6 balloting when Ohio voters will be choosing a new governor, statewide leaders, members of Congress and the General Assembly.

The last day to register to vote is Oct. 9. Early voting begins Oct. 10 for the election that also includes county offices, a state issue and hundreds of tax levies and school issues.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

WPAFB Wednesday Weather: Breezy, cold conditions continue with possible evening flurries
WPAFB Wednesday Weather: Breezy, cold conditions continue with possible evening flurries

Wednesday will start out breezy and cold with temperatures rising into the 30s, according to Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs. Extra layers to keep warm would be ideal as wind chills will be in the upper teens to lower 20s early. Some morning sun will give way to clouds through the day as a cold front approaches. A few flurries will...
FDA, local schools take steps as teen e-cigarette use surges
FDA, local schools take steps as teen e-cigarette use surges

E-cigarette use by high schoolers increased 80 percent in the past year, prompting the Food and Drug Administration to propose new measures against flavored nicotine products that have spurred the rise. More than 3.6 million American middle and high school students admitted to being e-cigarettes users in 2018, up 1.5 million from last year, according...
Siding for every budget
Siding for every budget

There are many reasons to update your siding: It’s aged out; you want better energy efficiency; or it doesn’t fit your taste. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of options available to you, and there’s more than one material to fit each budget level. Plus, fall is the perfect time of year to complete an exterior project like this...
Interior designer shares ‘The Art of Elegance’
Interior designer shares ‘The Art of Elegance’

Normally, lunch for me during our busy fall and holiday season is a few quick bites squeezed in between appointments. So I couldn’t wait to attend the elegant Committee of 100 annual luncheon a few weeks ago at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo. I love this benefit event, which brings in top name interior designers, who transport...
The do’s and don’ts of fall fragrances
The do’s and don’ts of fall fragrances

What does your home say about you? What is the first or lasting impression? In many instances, the unseen can make a lasting impression, whether positive or negative. We are talking about scent. Fragrance can be powerful when it comes to either attracting or distracting. And for many, infusing scents is part of the experience for guests. When looking...
More Stories