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Tippecanoe County Board of Elections Shows Off New Voting Machines During Mock Election

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Steve Shamo, a representative for MicroVote, walks a resident through the new equipment (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)

The Tippecanoe County Board of Elections and Registration held a mock election Thursday night to allow the public a chance to play with its new voting equipment. 

  

Steve Shamo, a representative for MicroVote, said the systems tabulate votes both electronically and on a paper receipt - which voters are able to see before casting their votes.

 

“The public perception is that they want to have a piece of paper and know a physical paper ballot was left behind as a record of their vote,” he said. “This machine accommodates that.”

 

But as important as a paper trail is for election security, it’s an often cumbersome process to hand count ballots -- which is why the machines also tabulate the ballots digitally.

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The new voting machines will use buttons instead of touch screens (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)

“From an administrative standpoint when the day ends we have the ability with a smart card to pull a summary of the votes from each and every machine and quickly account for them,” he said. 

 

MicroVote is an Indianapolis-based company that Shamo said has been around since the 1980s. He said he wants people to understand that the voting machines require a high level of vetting before they can be used. 

 

“These voting machines go through an extremely high level of federal certification and testing,” Shamo said. “A single test at the federal level can take anywhere from six months to three years.”

 

Secretary of the Board of Elections Julie Roush said she hopes that the machines will help reduce public worry around the security of elections. 

 

“It’s most important to build that confidence of the voter,” she said. “Is that really how I voted? Is that what the machine took?”

 

Roush said the paper trail is important for making sure voters can be confident their vote was cast correctly -- and makes election audits easier. 

 

“I think that’s where the state is going,” she said. “Each county in time is going to have to audit their votes after an election.”

 

Roush said her office saw a lot of voters call in with concerns about the safety of the election in 2020. 

 

“Lots of phone calls, but if they gave us time to talk through the process we had a lot of people saying ‘oh my gosh I had no idea you did all that,’” she said.

 

The county purchased 275 voting machines with a grant from the state for roughly $1.5 million dollars. 

 

Roush said the county doesn’t yet have the voting machines but expects them by the end of the year.