WEST PALM BEACH, Fla - When it comes to elections faster is better.
"We cannot connect digital to analog, because it's so old that it doesn't work. We're in the digital age and we need to upgrade. We really don't have the same availability to quickly upload our election results on election night. We actually have to drive everything in," said Susan Bucher, the Supervisor of Elections for Palm Beach County.
In order to make those delays a thing of the past, Bucher is looking to the future. "We can upgrade our equipment, and we can have the same kind of devices that everyone else has to upload on election night."
The current voting machines were state-of-the-art, in 1970, therefore their modems no longer work reliably.
"They did experience some major difficulty with duplicated results when they tried to use the modems that go with this kind of equipment," said Bucher.
She favors a system some Palm Beach County voters might remember, a touch screen interface. "We had the touch screen machines and the legislature outlawed those," said Bucher.
The machines were done away with due to the lack of available paper ballots. There were concerns that bigger problems could arise if the county was again faced with a vote recount, as in the 2000 election.
"That technology still exists, and there's in fact newer technology that does attach a paper trail to those touch screen machines," said Bucher.
These new machines satisfy the state requirement, but for now, Bucher must wait for approval from the state legislature.
"And possibly ask them for a local option for Palm Beach County to be able to purchase touch screen machines. If the legislature is unable to approve the request for the touch screens, then we would like to review the possibility of upgrading to digital scanners," said Bucher.
Copyright (c) 2010 The E. W. Scripps Company
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