Local voters will be seeing new voting machines at polling places this year.

New electronic-voting machines were unveiled to local government officials during a meeting Thursday afternoon.

The old machines have been replaced simply because the technology being used needed to be updated.

“We started those (the previous voting machines) in 2006,” Rich Vargo, the clerk for Riley County, said. “Their life cycle was projected to be eight years, so we got an extra four years out of them. They had gone beyond their life cycle. And of course with anything new (technology-wise), there’s newer security measures.”

Each machine costed a little over $3,000 with a total of over $1 million spent on the new technology.

While the machines will be different from the ones used in past elections, there won’t be very many noticeable differences.

One difference between the new and old machines is the ability of the voter to verify their votes on a piece of paper,

“The only thing that’s really different from the old machine is the voter-verifiable paper audit trail,” Vargo said. “That’s all the old machine did not have. It was a touch screen as well.”

While changes in the voting machines being used may cause concerns about election security, Vargo says the only concern will be if someone has figured out how to hack power outlets.

“There’s a lot of very smart people in this world, but no one has ever figured out how to hack through a 110 outlet,” Vargo said. “The only thing those things are hooked up to is a 110 outlet. They’re not hooked up to a network. They’re not hooked up to the internet anywhere.”

Voters also won’t need to worry about physical disabilities or injuries preventing them from participating in the election as the machines are handicap accessible, quadriplegic accessible and will adjust to a person’s height.

The old machines have been replaced simply because the technology being used needed to be updated.

“We started those (the previous voting machines) in 2006,” Vargo said. “Their life cycle was projected to be eight years, so we got an extra four years out of them. They had gone beyond their life cycle. And of course with anything new (technology-wise), there’s newer security measures.”

For more information about voting, visit rileycountyks.gov.

Voters can also see what their ballots will look like by visiting voteks.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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