Mock Elections Testing New Oklahoma Voting Machines
TULSA, Oklahoma - There's a week long, statewide election underway, but the results won't matter much. It's a test of the machines that tabulate the votes.
Normally it's about who is on the ballot, but for this election, it's how to cast the ballot that's most important.
Rows of the new voting machines are ready to go. Tulsa County Election Board workers and precinct workers have trained to use them and now - voters are getting a chance to try them out. Not that they're much different in the way voters will use them.
"I don't think they're going to see a big difference, because there's still a paper ballot, and they still feed it into the machine like the other ballot was," said Patty Bryant, Election Board Secretary.
The entire state is moving to the new machines because even though the old ones worked, they were obsolete and parts were hard to find.
Election boards in every county are inviting voters to come in and cast ballots in a mock election for favorite sports team, actor, and role model.
One feature is new, a way for blind voters to hear the choices, and a keypad for disabled voters to make their choices without help.
The new machines are similar to the old ones and so are the ballots, except they're on almost plain paper, and there's no more connecting the lines. Just about any mark in the box by the name works to cast your ballot.
The paper ballot still creates a paper trail, and the new electronics should make it all work faster.
"A few seconds faster. They'll still be accurate and we're all about accuracy, but I believe they'll be faster," Bryant said.
The machines will first be used for real in the school board elections next month. The polls are open all week at the election board.