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HomeNewsArchivesElectronic Voting Machines: Demonstrations, Registration Available

Electronic Voting Machines: Demonstrations, Registration Available

July 8, 2006 — "It's easy – just push the buttons," said Shamara Morris, who was attending a demonstration on the electronic voting machines by members of the Board of Elections. The demonstration took place Saturday in front of the Schooner Bay Marketplace in Christiansted where Morris, 20, is employed. The Board of Elections will continue demonstrating the new machines at throughout the territory as part of its community outreach initiative.
"We are bringing the process to the community," said BOE member Rupert Ross Jr.
Voter registration and voting machine demonstrations will continue until Oct. 8, the last day of voter registration before the general elections on Nov. 7
Ross said the voting machines have been continuously upgraded and retrofitted to keep up with emerging technology. This year will be the first time visually impaired people will be able to vote independently.
Patrick Phillips, a BOE technician, explained that a visually impaired person would be given a hand-held device and a set of headphones upon entering the voting booth. The voter would listen to automated instructions in English or Spanish and make his or her selections using the Braille markings on the device.
In prior elections visually impaired voters would request the assistance of another individual who would enter into the booth and make the selections on their behalf.
Ross said that method did not provide for the confidentiality of the voter.
He said it was important for people who never used the machine to get a demonstration. "We want people to use it and feel comfortable, so on Election Day they won't be intimidated."
Several people stopped by to get a demonstration, to ask questions or to register to vote.
Community groups or persons wishing to host registrations or demonstrations are urged to call the Board of Elections on St. Croix at 773-1021, on St. Thomas at 774-3107 and on St. John at 776-6535.

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