N.C. expands ballot-scanning program statewide

The North Carolina State Board of Elections is going to roll out a statewide ballot-scanning program from CDW Government it used in a pilot program during the May presidential primaries, CDW-G officials announced today.

During the primaries, optical scan voting machines in nine counties let voters record their choices by directly marking the ballot. Poll workers used Motorola Symbol P460 bar code scanners to verify that each voter had received the proper ballot.

North Carolina uses more than 100 different kinds of ballots, CDW-G officials said. The state needed a voting system that would prevent human error in ballot distribution at polling sites and streamline the process.

'With CDW-G's expert advice and Motorola's leading technology, North Carolina can ensure that each voter receives the right ballot,' said Marc Burris, North Carolina State Board of Elections IT director. 'Not only is the scanner solution extremely easy to use, but it could save our North Carolina election jurisdictions the cost of re-running an election due to ballot distribution errors. Based upon the projected cost avoidance and the overwhelming success of the pilot program, we made the decision to expand the program statewide this fall.'

The Symbol P460 from Motorola is a wireless bar code scanner with a forward-scanning pistol grip. The device is most commonly used for inventory management, CDW-G officials said.

Poll workers scan the bar code on the voter's authorization form and then the bar code on the paper ballot. If the bar codes do not match, an error message is displayed, followed by a distinct tone. The poll worker must then manually scan a new ballot. When the bar codes match, the poll worker receives both visual and audio confirmations.

For more information, go to www.cdwg.com.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.


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