Elections Office Preparing for Primary

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For the first time in Bay County, electronic touch screen voting machines will be available in each of the 55 precincts. This will allow blind voters to cast their ballots in secrecy, which is another first.

Mark Andersen, Supervisor of Elections, said, "All we're doing is increasing the voter access for all voters in Bay County."

But Andersen wants everyone to feel confident about the voting process too. That's why his office conducted logic and accuracy testing on each individual voting machine.

"We're giving the public confidence that we've worked hard to make sure these systems have had proper maintenance, proper tests, and are ready for you the voters."

Right now Bay Countians can vote using either touch screen or paper systems, but Andersen says he would like to see a single voting system used in the near future.

"We've already been testing for two weeks because of the complexity of two different systems. You cannot error on the touch screen system."

Andersen says if you want to vote on a touch screen system, you must make your choice known immediately at your precinct.

There will only be one touch screen system at each precinct, along with eight paper systems, so if you want to vote by touch screen, Andersen says be prepared to wait in line.

Anderson is asking for an extra $1.2 million to convert the entire county to touch screen voting machines. He says he hopes by 2008 all voters will be using a single system.