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Monday, Jan. 23, 2017

Guinea pig votes

Posted Tuesday, February 7, 2012, at 4:39 PM

Eric Crump was the first voter in Marshall's Ward 3 to use the new touch-screen voting machine. (Eric Crump/Democrat-News)
The presidential primary election is not likely to make history for voter turnout -- unless perhaps for the lack of. But in Saline County, this election will be remembered as the first time touch-screen voting machines were available at polling places.

I had the privilege of being the first voter in Marshall's Ward 3 to use one of the new machines. That is, I got to be the guinea pig.

Fortunately, the process was painless.

The poll workers, Sue Hassler and Cherryl Flandermeyer, were well-trained in how to use the new technology. Using new tools always feels a bit awkward at first, but they quickly got my voting card prepared and inserted in the machine.

Voting with the touch-screen machine is easy. Anyone who has used the self-checkout machines at Walmart is already overqualified to vote by touch-screen machine.

The voting machine's process is even simpler and easier than running a half dozen items through the checkout machine. I wasn't scolded even once for failing to put my item in the bagging area!

Poll workers this morning were glad to have the new machines to generate a little excitement. Few early voters had appeared by 8 a.m., and they were not expecting much of a rush for this nearly meaningless election.

The votes we cast today won't actually translate into convention delegates because Missouri's election schedule ran afoul of the national parties. The state legislature tried to change the date, but the bill was vetoed by the governor for unrelated issues.

So state law requires the election be held, but it won't really count.

Perhaps that worked out for the best in Saline County, though. The light turn out will give poll workers a chance to get used to the new technology without the stress of big crowds.

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Eric Crump is a former editor of The Marshall Democrat-News. He lives elsewhere now but still loves Marshall and Saline County. He's trying to catch up on all the stories he should have written while he was on staff.
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