New Voting Equipment
This year Ramsey County voters will be using a new ballot counter on Election Day. New accessible ballot marking devices for elderly and disabled voters will be available as well. The new equipment is on display at City Hall if you would like to take a peek!
Federal legislation passed by Congress, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), requires that each polling place be equipped with a voter assist terminal for individuals with disabilities. These devices are designed to provide voters with disabilities the opportunities to vote independently and privately. The State of Minnesota has certified the AutoMARK from Election Systems and Software for use in Minnesota to meet the HAVA requirement to provide a voter assist terminal. The AutoMARK system will be available in every St. Anthony polling place for voters with disabilities on Election Day. In addition, the AutoMARK system is available for absentee voters in City Hall during the 45 days before an election.
How Does it Work?
The voters receive the same optical scan paper ballot whether they will vote using a pen or the AutoMARK ballot marking device. The AutoMARK is a tool - and "electronic pen" - to assist the voter in marking the ballot. The AutoMARK has special features to assist voters with disabilities that make it difficult to mark an optical scan paper ballot (i.e. blind, poor eyesight, unable to hold a pen). When the voter inserts the ballot into the AutoMARK, an electronic version of the ballot appears on the screen. The screen provides options of reverse contrast, enlargement for easier reading, or for being turned off for privacy if a voter chooses to access the ballot by using earphones and keypad. The recorded audio description of the ballot can be used in place of in conjunction with the visual version on the screen. The voter makes selections by the touch screen, the keypad, or alternative adaptive method.
The AutoMARK ballot marking device provides voters the opportunity to review and verify their selections. Upon the voter's direction, the AutoMARK marks the ovals on the optical can ballot. The voter then inserts the ballot into the ballot counter used by all voters in the precinct. The voting process remains the same for voters who do not need the assistance of the AutoMARK for marking a ballot. Votes are tallied by the ballot counter to produce precinct results.