Locals May Vote Earlier, Utilize New Voting Method

  • Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
  • Comments Comments (0)

Although election day is not until Nov. 7, registered voters will have the opportunity to cast their votes early at any of five locations throughout Alameda County, including Berkeley, beginning tomorrow.

A new electronic touch-screen voting method for the county was set up by Global Election Systems and is available as close as the city clerk's office at 1900 Addison Street. Voters are issued a card upon verification of their voter registration and completion of an absentee ballot form.

This card is burned within two minutes and allows immediate access to one of 134 different ballot types used in the county on one of the touch-screen computers. Each card has a microchip to report who voted, but does not have personal information to link the individual to the ballot.

"We plan to have more locations over time," said Steve Knecht, regional sales manager of Global Election Systems. "It technically falls under absentee voting, but it is really more convenience voting than anything else."

Alameda County averages 650,000 voters per election, 80,000 of which are absentee voters who fill out ballots at home and mail them in ahead of time. This new system will give many of them the chance to vote in person, since the computers can be accessed in Alameda, Berkeley, Fremont, Livermore and Oakland for 29 days until Nov. 3, and then at the main station in the Oakland court house until election day.

"For weeks before an election people usually call in to ask for their polling location," said Sherry Kelly, the city clerk for Berkeley. "One big advantage of this new system is that it gives people freedom to vote wherever they are instead of at a specific place, and because of the extended voting period, they don't have to wait in long lines late at night."

In the near future citizens will be able to register to vote and vote on the same day, officials said. Currently the voter registration form takes a few days to process, but all who register by tomorrow's deadline for this November's election will still be able to vote weeks in advance.

According to Kelly, other advantages of the system include the trilingual ballot in Chinese, English and Spanish and special features for the handicapped. Each computer has a headset and a standard telephone keypad so the visually impaired can hear the ballot and make their selection. They only need the oral ballot option to be accessed on their card.

"This is the first opportunity in this county for a visually impaired person to vote without assistance," said Bradley Clark, registrar of voters for Alameda County. "The other system was old and it was time to change it and look at the new technology. This has more flexibility, language capacity, and it is virtually impossible to make a mistake while voting."

The electronic ballot was first introduced to California in a March 1999 election in Piedmont, where it was still under conditional certification and was only used on the day of the election.

"We felt pressured last year in Piedmont because it was a test, but now it is running in five counties in California, as well as in 14 other states," Knecht said. "We are beyond testing. It has been tried, proved, and we are solid."

Voters will be briefed on how to use the machines, but officials suggest that they come in somewhat informed about the ballot because it takes a long time to read through the measures.


Comments (0) »

Comment Policy
The Daily Cal encourages readers to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of The Daily Californian. Comments are not pre-moderated, but may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy. Comments should remain on topic, concerning the article or blog post to which they are connected. Brevity is encouraged. Posting under a pseudonym is discouraged, but permitted. Click here to read the full comment policy.
White space
Left Arrow
Image Student regent resigns after sex crime allegations
Jesse Cheng officially announced his resignation from his positio...Read More»
Image Pet shop may occupy planned Goodwill
After failed negotiations with the landlord and resistance from the busines...Read More»
Image Campus graduate takes new first steps
UC Berkeley's graduation day this year was symbolic for graduate Austin Whi...Read More»
Image Regents rescind part of approval
The ongoing legal battle surrounding revisions to the building plans for th...Read More»
Image UC spared additional cuts in budget revision
While the University of California escaped further funding reductions M...Read More»
Image UC Board of Regents wary of unreliable state funds
SAN FRANCISCO - Following the release of Gov. Jerry Brown's revis...Read More»
Right Arrow

Job Postings

White Space