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Local citizens to tackle new way of voting

QUEENSBURY- Voters in Warren County will now have the opportunity to learn how to operate the new computerized voting machines during upcoming outreach sessions scheduled around the region.

The county Board of Elections will be introducing the new state-certified Dominion Voting System Scanner to the public beginning this Saturday at various locations across the county.

The new voting machines will be in use throughout Warren County beginning with the September primary election.

Instead of pulling mechanical levers behind curtains, voters will be handed ballots, and they'll be blackening in oval circles that are adjacent to their chosen candidates' names.

They will be making such a selection while sitting at a table with a U-shaped piece of cardboard providing some degree of privacy.

Voters will then take their ballot to a central voting machine, push a button and feed the ballot into a slot, when it will either be accepted or rejected, based on the readability of the markings, and the legitimacy of the choices.

"This will be easier than anyone anticipated," county Republican Election Commissioner Mary Beth Casey said Monday as she prepared to train about two dozen election inspectors at the county Municipal Center on operation of the new machines.

The new devices, however, are not easy on the taxpayers' wallets. Although purchase of the 70 ballot scanners and 22 computerized ballot marking devices for the visually impaired cost the county about $900,000 including the software, 95 percent of the sum was refunded by the federal government.

But because of the machines, the county Board of elections' annual budget has now increased about $150,000 from now on. The hiked expenses are primarily because the ballots must be custom-printed for each election, and the federally-required number to be on hand for an election means as many as 126,000 ballots must be prepared and purchased by the county at a cost of 57 cents each, or a total of $71,820 per election.

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