Problems with electronic voting fixed quickly

Elkhart County, Ind. Polls opened promptly at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning at the Faith United Methodist Church in Elkhart County for the Primary Election. Nerves and anticipation were also present because this is the first time voting is electronic.

“Little apprehensive just making sure we got everything going this early in the morning,” says vote center supervisor Brett Weddell. “We ran into a couple hiccups but very easy to take care of. Quick phone call to the vote center, walked us through quick steps and no problems after that.”

Elkhart County Election Board Chair Wayne Kramer tells the Elkhart Truth that 5 of the county’s 25 vote centers had problems getting started when polls opened at 6a.m. However it was fixed quickly, and the system was online by 6:07a.m.

Elkhart County has 25 vote centers up and running. Most of them will be housed in churches, 11 of them will be located along bus lines.

This new system of voting allows anyone to go to any of the 25 different centers to vote. They no longer have to go to one of the 84 polling places the precinct system offered.

“It was on my way to work, I didn’t have to backtrack to go to where I used to have to vote so this was easy for me,” explains Elkhart County voter, Lisa Hammel.

The reason folks can go anywhere is because the poll books are connected to a central server which is monitored throughout the day and allows your ballot to pop-up when your ID is scanned.

Here is how the process works. In order to vote you need your ID. When you walk through the doors of the vote center your ID will be checked. Once it is checked you can go to a different table to have it scanned. After it is scanned you have to verify your address and then your ballot pops up. A card is put into the machine and the ballot is copied over. You then take that card to the touch screen voting machines where your ballot pops up and you can cast your vote.

“It seemed to me the instructions were very clear. There was large print. You could even ask for a larger print. I am sure some people might be uncomfortable if they are not used to using a computer, might be a little apprehensive but it was friendly,” says another Elkhart County voter, Gay Burton.

As of Tuesday’s primary election, 16 out of Indiana's 92 counties have implemented vote centers:

Wayne County
Tippecanoe County
Cass County
Vanderburgh County
Blackford County
Johnson County
Switzerland County
Floyd County
Hancock County
Miami County
Noble County
Vigo County
Carroll County
Clay County
Elkhart County
Wabash County

For some of them, this election marks the first time they're using them, like in Elkhart County.

Bartholomew County will become the 17th county with vote centers, effective January 2015.

Indiana polls are open until 6 p.m. Tuesday night. Michigan polls are open until 8 p.m. If you plan of voting Tuesday make sure you are registered and bring a valid photo ID.

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