Vermilion County Clerk, Cathy Jenkins, is extremely excited to announce the use of new voting machines beginning with the General Primary Election on March 17th, 2020. “When I took office, I immediately recognized the need for updated voting equipment. Over the past few years, our office has looked at ways to cut costs and we have applied for additional grant funds to help cover the cost of new machines, and I’m proud to say we were successful in purchasing new equipment without any additional burden to our current budget,” Jenkins said.
Part of the new system will utilize touchscreen technology to produce a paper ballot for tabulation. “We used touchscreens before, but the voter wasn’t able to physically touch their ballot, and a lot of voters voiced concern. We want the voters to know we listened, and now a voter can not only see their ballot, but they can physically touch it and put it into tabulator,” Clerk Jenkins said. The new touchscreen machines will handle the entire marking process, which will eliminate marginal marks and the need for interpretation of the voter’s mark.
The upgrade will be easier to manage for the election judges. The voting system will not only replace the old touchscreen, but the tabulators are being replaced as well. “The new system is significantly more efficient for our workers. It will be seamless to the voters in terms of how they place their vote. Administrators and election workers will see the tabulator changes,” Jenkins said.
“I want to stress that each vote is secure. Each tabulator has a memory stick that records the votes. At the end of the night, the memory stick gets uploaded into a specific laptop, which is exclusively hook connected to the power supply and a printer. All reports and votes are then uploaded into another memory stick that gets uploaded to the State and to our website for reporting. There is no direct uploading of votes to the internet or wifi from the machine itself,” Jenkins stressed.
The upgrade will make it easier for voters with disabilities to cast their vote not only in early voting, but on Election Day. All polling places will have at least one touchscreen marking device.
Vermilion County residents who, due to a disability, are unable to appear in person to register to vote may contact Jenny Marsh, Voter Registration Manager, at 217/554-1915 for assistance. “The office can arrange for in-home registration services,” County Clerk Cathy Jenkins said. Registration forms are also available by mail or may be printed from the County Clerk’s website at www.vercounty.org. Paperless online voter registration is also available on the same website under “County Clerk,” “Voter Information,” “Online Voter Registration.”