Breaking News
More () »

Accomack voters will use new machines in next election

Accomack County voters will use a new method to cast their votes on Nov. 3.
Accomack County Voter Registrar Patricia White speaks about the new electronic voting scanners inside the Accomack County Circuit Courthouse Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. White is inviting the public to try out the new voting machines, which arrived in June.

ID=72249592Accomack County voters for the first time in well over a decade will use a new method to cast their vote in the Nov. 3 election — and it's one in which they will go back to marking a paper ballot, followed by using a scanning machine.

In Northampton County, the new optical scan equipment will be used for absentee voting only for this election.

Voters on Election Day will still use the same touchscreen voting equipment in Northampton.

Northampton will provide instructions with the ballots for absentee voters who vote by mail and will have office staff on hand to help in-person absentee voters. Call 757-678-0480 for information.

Accomack County Voter Registrar Patricia White is inviting voters in Accomack County to try out the new voting system beforehand — she is offering demonstrations at the Voter Registrar Office at 23312 Courthouse Ave. in Accomac.

The office is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 5 p.m. Call 757-787-2935 for voting information.

"They can come and go through the process...and see how this system works," White said.

She already has demonstrated the new machine to a group at one location, Jerusalem Baptist Church in Temperanceville, and has plans for two more demonstrations, at Chincoteague Community Center and the Painter firehouse, before Election Day.

Those dates have not been set yet.

Individual demonstrations at the Registrar's office will be available until the weekend before Election Day.

The 20 new machines, Open Electronic Voting Optical scanners made by Unisyn, cost Accomack County about $111,000. There is one for each precinct, including the Central Absentee precinct in Accomac, and two spares.

They replace the old touch-screen machines Accomack voters have been using for 15 years.

Voters using the new system will mark paper ballots, then insert them into the scanner.

The ballots then go into a locked bin underneath the scanning mechanism.

"They stay there until the polls close," White said.

The machine tallies the votes, and the method has the advantage of having the paper ballots for election officials to fall back on "if worst comes to worst," she said, noting the state wanted to go back to a system that included a paper trail.

Virginia this spring de-certified the old DRE machines — the type Accomack had used up until now.

White wants to remind voters they must present a photo I. D. to vote. If anyone does not have a form of photo I. D., they can get one — to be used only for voting purposes — at the Voter Registar Office in Accomac.

Last year was the first election where voters were required to present a photo I. D.

Absentee voting begins Sept. 18, with absentee voters using the new system at the Voter Registrar Office. Absentee votes also can be cast by mail.

Voters in Accomack County on Nov. 3 will be electing all Constitutional Officers, including the Clerk of Court, who has an 8-year term; the Board of Supervisors in all nine districts; and Eastern Shore Soil and Water Conservation District directors.

Northampton County voters will elect Board of Supervisors members in Districts 4 and 5; School Board members in Districts 4 and 5 and one at-large member; Constitutional Officers; and Eastern Shore Soil and Water Conservation District directors.

Voters in both counties will cast ballots for the Virginia State Senator for District 6 and the Virginia House of Delegates member for the 100th District.

Before You Leave, Check This Out