Champaign County adopts new ballot technology

By Patrick Wade

Voters tried out a relatively new method of casting ballots Tuesday thanks to an effort by the Office of the Champaign County Clerk to make voting as efficient and accurate as possible.

Voters in Champaign county are using the “fill-in-the-oval” ballots, which were first used in the general primary elections in March.

Champaign County Clerk Mark Shelden said that these new ballots will guard against mistakes, as they count the votes at the precinct and provide error protection, alerting the voter if they vote for too many candidates.

Allison Getty, senior in LAS, who has previously used touch screen balloting in her hometown, said that the new process by which the “fill-in-the-oval” ballots are counted did not present any significant change in the process.

“Voting’s pretty easy no matter what you do,” she said.

Prior to the March elections, Champaign County had used punch card ballots for over 30 years, according the Office of the County Clerk’s Web site.

Guy Hampel, election judge coordinator at the Snyder Hall polls, said that the paper ballot is now required by law. He also said that the new technology makes counting the votes much easier.

Some University students felt that, although the new ballots were easier, it was not the ballots that needed reform.

John Obler, junior in LAS, said that the voting itself was not difficult, but that the process “did seem pretty unorganized.”