Crawford County voters get a new option for voting

County starts using new voting machines

Voters in Crawford County, Kansas on Tuesday voted on a constitutional amendment, as well as local government and school board races.

At the Church of Christ in Pittsburg, several hundred came out to vote.

“We may actually see a little bit better turnout than we typically see for an odd-year election,” explains Crawford County Clerk Don Pyle. “The City of Arma, City of Pittsburg has some really competitive races for city council… city commission so that to me seems to draw more people out to vote.”

Residents in Kansas are voting on a constitutional amendment on how the census is calculated.

But many residents are interested in those local races.

“I wanted to cover the school district. I have grandchildren and we want good things to happen in our schools. I think that’s really important,” says Cheryl Waters.

And many of those voters in the county had the option of using new voting machines.

This is the first election that Express Votes machines are being used in.

The touch screen machines and designed to be easier to use for people with disabilities, and gives a paper printout after a ballot is cast.

That is then put in the sealed ballot box.

“A lot of people that really don’t need to use the express votes for voting that have chosen to do so because it’s convenient, very easy to make your choices and then it still prints out your ballot at the end of it,” says Pyle.

Pyle says the county upgraded the voting machines out of necessity.

“The old machines were outdated. They were basically twelve years old, so for electronics, that’s pretty old,” says Pyle.

He also says the county didn’t make their decision lightly.

“There are three vendors in Kansas that have approved equipment for the complete voting system. We’ve been researching it for a year and a half basically cause we knew we needed to migrate to new equipment,” explains Pyle.

A big part of that was making sure the machines were secure and recorded votes accurately.

“They’re very secure, and they’ve been tested and shown to be very accurate as well. Sometimes they need to be recalibrated to make sure what you’re touching is what it’s recording, and it’s easy to do. And we have technicians who come through every year and make sure everything is working right.”

Residents also have the option of using paper ballots.

The machines cost around six thousand dollars each.

Pyle says they plan to use them in the 2020 election.

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