Moraine Township, Lake County, Illinois
News of the Township

Moraine Township Announces ADA Voting Machines Planned For County's March 2006 Elections

Moraine Township Clerk Ellen Gussin revealed that the ES&S AutoMARK voting system will be available in all Township voting locations for the March 2006 Primary. The AutoMARK provides ballot accessibility to voters who are blind, visually impaired or have a disability or condition that would make it difficult or impossible for them to mark a ballot in private without assistance. Accessible interface for voters with disabilities is required under the federal law titled the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which was passed by Congress in 2002 and signed into law by President Bush.

County Clerk Willard Helander made the original announcement, saying "In our review process of the ADA voting solutions, we involved participants in all aspects of an election. We had input from County Clerk staff who are well-versed in the technical and legal requirements of election administration in Illinois, the purchasing and technical staff for the county, as well as stakeholders who will be voting on the system." The stakeholder committee included blind and visually impaired persons, voters with limited large and small motor skills, election workers, trainers and representatives of the League of Women Voters.

Gussin said Helander was pleased to note that the AutoMARK was the first ADA compliant voting system to be certified by the Illinois State Board of Elections for use in Illinois. It provides the same opportunity for access and participation, including privacy and independence, as for other voters. The AutoMARK could be described as a voter assist terminal serving as a ballot-marking system with several features including:

    • Protection for voters by eliminating over-votes; minimizing under-votes; and allowing for the selection of write-in candidates.

    • The ability to use the same paper ballot for all voters in a way that protects privacy and provides secure recount capability.

    • An audio function, which allows visually impaired voters or those with severely impaired vision to listen to the choices through headphones.

    • An option for ballot instruction responses by touch screen, key pad, or gel pads for hands or feet.

    • The ability to protect legacy systems by allowing jurisdictions to use existing optical scanner hardware/software solutions. Simply adding an ES&S AutoMARK device to a polling location ensures compliance with HAVA and eliminates the need to reinvest in a new tabulation system.

    • A sip/puff tube for voters who are not able to use the touch screen or touch pad.

    • A zoom feature, which enables the voter to increase the font size of each race listed on the optical scan ballot. This may be especially helpful for voters who are sighted but have vision limitations.

Clerk Helander plans a countywide voter outreach to introduce the AutoMARK. "We plan to partner with local government, advocacy organizations and service agencies to bring the system to the voters. We appreciate very much the local election officials assistance in getting the word out about this wonderful improvement to the voting process in Lake County." For more information about the AutoMARK Voting System, or to schedule a demonstration beginning November 2005, call 847-377-2314.

Posted September 30, 2005

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