Sneak peek of Shelby County’s newest voting machines

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 11:14 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County Administrator of Elections Linda Phillips demonstrated the county’s brand-new voting machines on Wednesday.

“Voters will have a choice. They can vote a hand-marked paper ballot, or they can use the ballot marking device,” Phillips said. ”Our employees have been trained on the system and now we’re beginning poll worker training starting tomorrow.”

Poll worker Andranetta Moten gives the Election Systems and Software (ES&S) machines two thumbs up after trying them out on Wednesday.

”I wanted to get a firsthand view before I did my training,” Moten said.

This equipment, she says, is much simpler for poll workers to set up and break down.

”It’s wonderful! It’s great! It’s progressive. It’s gonna help move things faster,” she said.

Poll workers will begin training on how to use the new Election Systems and Software machines...
Poll workers will begin training on how to use the new Election Systems and Software machines on Oct. 6.(Action News 5)
Election Systems and Software machines
Election Systems and Software machines(Action News 5)

Voters first insert their ballot card and follow the prompts on the touch screen. They then hit “review selections” when done and print the ballot.

From there, voters insert their ballot in a second machine, a scanner, the device that tabulates votes.

”If we ever had to audit this race, we have a paper backup,” Phillips explained.

Shelby County spent $6 million to buy 1,100 voting machines from ES&S, selected by a bipartisan panel of seven experts who rated these machines the highest in 14 categories, including cost, ease of use, and security.

”There’s no way to hack into any of this because it’s not connected to the internet,” Phillips said.

The new voting machines come with headphones and audio prompts for the visually impaired, a keypad to help the disabled, and even a sip and puff technology for those who can’t use their hands.

Modern. Inclusive. Secure.

And, really easy to use, says 71-year-old voter Shelia Thompson.

”Well, we’re going into the 21st century, we need to improve, so I think they’re really nice. They even look state of the art, you know, like futuristic kind of stuff,” Thompson said.

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