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Troy Record

 

District prepares for high-tech voting

By: Steven S. Couse, The Record

05/10/2007

 

Mike McMahon<BR>Larry Bugbee, left, Republican Rensselaer County Board of Elections commissioner, looks on while Robert Witko, president of Liberty, demonstrates an electronic voting machine that will be used in Tuesday's school board election in Troy.

Mike McMahon
Larry Bugbee, left, Republican Rensselaer County Board of Elections commissioner, looks on while Robert Witko, president of Liberty, demonstrates an electronic voting machine that will be used in Tuesday's school board election in Troy.

 

TROY - With school and election officials looking on, ballot data was entered into a computer Wednesday for high-tech voting machines to be used in Tuesday's Troy school vote.

 

Eva DeFiglio, clerk for the Board of Education, entered candidates' names, budget numbers, and other text into the program in a large storage room in the county office building.

 

The data was burned into modules to be inserted into each of the 10 Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines to be used at the seven polling sites. DeFiglio was assisted by Ed Petteys of Liberty Election Systems, the Albany-based firm providing the district with the voting technology at no charge.

 

Rensselaer County Board of Elections officials Larry Bugbee, Ed McDonough and Mary Sweeney were in attendance, as were board candidates Anne Wager-Rounds and Ilene Clinton.

 

"We're just here as observers," Bugbee said. "This is between Liberty and the school district."

 

"I'm happy," said Wager-Rounds after watching DeFiglio enter her name.

 

But Clinton wasn't so sure. A voting machine in her home district last year stopped counting her votes after only two votes were cast.

 

"I prefer the paper ballot," Clinton said.

 

But the new machine does have a paper backup.

 

"It has a secure paper ballot that you can then go through," Bugbee said. "That's what we didn't have last year."

 

Robert Witko, president of Liberty, gave Clinton a demonstration.

 

"It's not a computer?" she asked him.

 

"No, it's a DRE," he responded.

 

Witko pointed out that the machines are not networked to each other.

 

"There is no connection to other machines," he said. "It's a stand alone."

 

After the data was burned into the modules, they were put in sealed envelopes. The modules, specific to the machine it is to be inserted into, will be put into the machines on Monday.

 

The machines will be programmed and locked at the county building before the vote. A final statement will be issued with 0 votes before polling.

 

A closing statement will be issued at the end of polling, with a paper ballot backup. Officials from Liberty and the Voting Machine Service Center, based in Jamestown, will be at each polling site.

 

"The administration is confident it will be a fair and uncontested election," said the district's spokeswoman Caroline Boardman.

 

The candidates will meet at School 1 Tuesday night for polling results.

 

The Record 2007