WICHITA, Kansas – Officials with the elections office of Sedgwick County are preparing to make a change, bringing in new machines for the first time in nearly a decade.
This afternoon the elections office held an open house and demonstration for the public to see how the chosen vendors voting machines worked.
Jim Ellis, an elections worker for the county says the current technology hasn’t always made things easy.
“The machines, the paper changes, there’s just a lot of activity used to set up the polls and take them down again, it’s a lot of work,” said Ellis.
The two chosen vendors, Elections Systems and Software and Henry Adkins and Sons showcased their equipment, which would help cast votes and count them more efficiently.
Tabitha Lehman, the Election Commissioner with the Sedgwick County Elections Office says the county is looking at spending between five to seven million dollars on new voting equipment.
“We assume we would need about 900 touchscreens and several hundred ballot tabulators,” said Lehman
Lehman stressed the importance of having public input, saying it was vital in the decision-making process.
“Elections are the foundation of democracy and we have to pay to make sure they are done correctly,” said Lehman.
Both voters and election workers seemed pleased by the proposed upgrade to the current system.
“We’re all excited about it, in talking with some of the others, it just simplifies things so much,” said Ellis.
However, the machines won’t be used until 2017 though.
Lehman says that since they are expecting a big turnout for the presidential election, they want to wait until a smaller election cycle to use the new technology in case there are any technical issues.