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Nov. 2, 2006

Voters May View Sample Ballots on County Web Site

Cronk demonstrates new voting machine

Jim Cronk of Volney tests a new electronic voting machine in preparation for Election Day. The machines are designed to make voting easier for people with disabilities. In the background, Peggy Bickford, a staff member of the Oswego County Board of Elections, programs the machine with the correct ballot.

Oswego County voters can view sample ballots for the Nov. 7 General Election on the county Web site at www.oswegocounty.com/election.shtml. The site contains ballots for each the county's four Assembly districts as well as the City of Oswego and local municipalities where special elections are being held.

The Web site also contains instructions for using electronic voting machines for voters with disabilities, schedule for re-canvassing of voting machines and counting absentee ballots, and a search program for polling sites across the county.

Election Commissioners Donald Wart and Williams Scriber said registered voters who have disabilities will be able to use a new electronic ballot-marking device at four locations in Oswego County.

The new voting machines may it easier for people with physical disabilities to cast their vote.

Jim Cronk, a resident of Volney, tested one of the machines recently at the Oswego ARISE office on East Tenth Street. Cronk uses a wheelchair and has limited use of his arms. The new electronic machine is “so much easier” to use, he said. He said voting on a lever machine was very difficult because his hands are weak and he lacks dexterity.

The electronic voting machines have a ballot-marking device, headset, a “sip and puff” system, and numerical keypad for voters who have visual, hearing or physical impairments.

Cronk said he was able to vote in about half the time it would take to use a lever machine.

Oswego resident Ken Skillen, who has a visual impairment, said the new machine functioned better for him also. Voters follow a series of instructions displayed on the computer screen rather reading one large ballot. He said it was easier for him to see the screen and that the practice run took less than five minutes.

An electronic voting machine will be set up in each of Oswego County's four Assembly districts on Election Day. Any disabled person who is registered to vote may go to any one of the sites. Elections workers will verify that the person is a registered voter and assign the correct ballot to the machine. Votes will be recorded on cards that will be placed in an envelope and manually counted by the Board of Elections.

Electronic voting machines will be located at the County Office Building, 46 E. Bridge St., Oswego; Oswego Town Hall, county Route 7, Oswego; Hastings Municipal Building, U.S. Route 11, Hastings; and Sandy Creek Town Hall, Harwood Drive, Sandy Creek.

For information, contact the Oswego County Board of Elections at 349-8350 or 349-8351, or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 8350 or 8351.

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