Chad-less voting

Atlas Twp.’When township voters head to the polls on Aug. 5, 2003 to renew 1 mill for five years for police protection, things may look slightly different.
Using a pen or pencil voters will be asked to blacken circles next to their choice of ‘yes or no? on a paper ballot similar to questionnaire forms used for college exams. The new voting machines then move the ballots to an optical scan voting machine which slides sheets of paper into the device.
Within seconds, the system either accepts or ejects the ballot back out if it detected a mistake. Votes are tabulated and within minutes of casting the ballot, the results are known.
No more punch cards, no more hanging chads ? rather a simple piece of paper with the questions or candidates.
Robb Coffman, Director of Elections for Genesee County says that both Atlas and Flushing townships will be the first in Genesee County to utilize the new M100 Optical Scan Election System and Software voting system.
‘You’re not touching a screen to vote,? said Coffman, who added that Macomb and Saginaw have used similar systems. ‘It’s an easy system to vote using a paper ballot and a display screen that tells the voter if the vote is valid or not.?
For the past 35 years Genesee County has used punch card, which says Coffman, can result in as many as 20 percent spoilage in a complicated ballot such as a bi-partisan election.
With a few to spare, and at a cost of $1.4 million, the 250 machines will be provided for the 229 Genesee County precincts. The new machines are a result of the 2000 presidential election which prompted the Federal Government to approve the 2002 Help America Act. The county will be reimbursed for a large portion of the costs.