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Get familiar with new voting machines

Alex Doty • Feb 5, 2018 at 1:00 PM

The League of Women Voters hopes to get more people accustomed to the new voting machines that will be in place during this year’s elections.

“We are offering the opportunity to the community to hear a presentation on new machines, and get a chance to practice voting on them,” said Christine Baker of the League of Women Voters of the Grand Haven Area.

The League will host an informational meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, at Loutit District Library.

“A rep from county clerk's office will be talking about the new voting machines and giving a demo/practice vote opportunity to citizens who attend,” Baker said.

All Ottawa County voters will use the new Verity Voting system, which was implemented in 2017 and used in communities that held elections that year. County officials say the new equipment was selected because it is secure, accurate and easy to use.

The process with the new machines is similar to the machines of old: to cast a ballot with the new voting machines, you’ll mark your choices on the ballot. Then, the ballots will be inserted into the ballot scanning device. You will know the ballot was successfully cast when the image of a waving American flag appears on a screen.

County officials note that the new system is user-friendly and provides an accessible device that enables all voters — including those with disabilities — to mark their ballots privately and independently.

Absentee voters will still receive a ballot, along with instructions for marking it, in the mail.

“Any change in voting procedures can be intimidating if citizens are unfamiliar with the new process,” Baker said. “Getting a first-hand opportunity to practice on the new system is important to gaining the confidence needed to vote for your candidate or issue.”

Baker noted that part of the League’s mission is to encourage informed and active participation in government.

“Voting is key to active participation,” Baker said.

In addition to highlighting the new voting machines, Baker said the upcoming meeting will serve as a chance for the League to share upcoming education events and initiatives for the busy 2018 election season.

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