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New voting machines explained

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Johnson County joins nearly five other Iowa counties to unveil a new user-friendly voting machine.

People had their chance try the new technology during the Johnson County Fair.

The new ExpressVote machine allows handicapped people to cast their ballots via touch-screen on a computer, then their ballot is printed, and it's tabulated. 

Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert says he received positive feedback from people trying it out.

"People at first will probably be a little apprehensive with new technology, but once you get in there and start playing with it, it's pretty easy," Weipert said.

Travis said he set up mock elections during the fair, so people could see how it works.

"And, I think with the ability to just touch buttons instead of just filling in ovals, it'll speed up the lines a little bit and save people time," Weipert said.

The best part about this new technology isn't how fast or easy it is to use, but how secure it is for voters.

After you're done putting your results into this computer screen, it prints out your results on a ballot, and then you insert it into a different tabulating machine, so there's always a paper trail.

"But, it's just like you were before. Once you're filled out, you'll just feed your ballot in, it'll count it, you'll be on your way out the doors," Weipert said.

Travis reminds voters the new machine isn't connected to the Internet and cannot be hacked.

"There are so many checks and balances. It would be very difficult to screw with an election here in Iowa," Weipert said.

Travis said one of the new ExpressVote machines will be placed at every precinct in upcoming Johnson County elections to help handicapped voters cast their ballots.

Travis says, if the machine isn't being used, anyone can use it to cast their ballots, but he expects most people to fill out their ballots the old-fashioned way.

Weipert says the new machines will be used for school elections this coming September.

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