2006-08-24 (WY) – Wyoming buys voting machines

us-wyoming

Wyoming bought electronic voting machines in 2006, funded by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).

Archived from the Billings Gazette, published Aug. 21, 2006: 1

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Voters in several Wyoming counties will find new and unfamiliar voting machines when they go to the polls for Tuesday’s primary election.

Laramie County Clerk Debra Lathrop said voters in her county will have the option of voting by filling in paper ballots manually, as they have for years, or by using a new electronic touch-screen system.

“The election judges say absentee voters seem to take to them very quickly and they’re easy to use,” Lathrop said of the touch-screen voting.

It was developed to make voting easier for disabled people, but Lathrop and other county clerks said all voters may use them.

Eight other counties that formerly used punch-card ballots or lever voting machines will use entirely new systems on Tuesday. Those were required under the Help America Vote Act, which was intended to address the voting system after problems with the 2000 presidential election in Florida.

The federal government allocated $16.5 million to Wyoming, for new voting machines and other technology.

Of the eight Wyoming counties forced to get new systems, three still had lever-operated voting machines: Johnson, Washakie and Hot Springs.

Washakie County Clerk Mary Grace Strauch of Worland said her staff has demonstrated the new touch-screen system to the public.

“When they first look at it, they act like they don’t really want to touch it, but then when we show them how you can just touch the screen, they jump right in and say, ‘That’s not hard at all,’ ” Strauch said.

Peggy Nighswonger, director of the elections division at the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office, said the equipment is ready for the election and that all the voting equipment in the 23 counties meets national standards.

The touch-screen systems can be operated by “puffer straws,” or breath, for people who don’t have full use of their hands.

“Truly, everyone who has any kind of a disability will be able to cast their vote in confidence this year,” Nighswonger said.

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NOTES:

  1. Original link: http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2006/08/21/news/wyoming/40-voters.txt [Archived article; Link no longer works

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