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Back to the Future. That's not just a movie title anymore. Now, apparently, it's going to be our voting system.
As a story on last Thursday's front page explains, the County has approved the use of paper ballots for the November General Election. Federal money pays for voting machines, and counties can choose the system that works best for them.
Taylor Fiscal Court has approved the purchase of machines that will scan paper ballots - ballots a lot like those we used years ago.
Voters will use black or blue ink to color in the box beside the name of the candidate they choose. Then they'll put their ballots into the scanner themselves. Once a ballot is given to a voter, no election worker will need to touch it again. Each voter will receive a ballot that includes only the races in which they are eligible to vote.
As with any type of change, there are pro's and con's.
The benefits include less maintenance and set-up preparation, less chance of Election Day problems, fewer election workers and the fact that everyone should be able to use them easily without having to "learn" the process. Older voters have used them before, and younger voters will recognize the process as the same system they use for standardized tests in school.
However, the cons include the fact there will be lots of leftover ballots. As a matter of fact, ballots will have to be printed for every registered voter. For example, if the County had used paper ballots for the past May primary, there would have been at least 10,200 leftover ballots. We had 16,894 registered voters in May with a 40 percent turnout.
But one main "pro" we see is that results will be able to be displayed by precinct, meaning no more waiting until all votes are tallied to get results. There's really nothing quite like the anticipation and excitement inside the courtroom during an election when results are being released a precinct at a time.
So while it seems like a step backwards, we won't know until we try it. It could very well be the perfect solution. At least there won't be any hanging chads.