Note: Scott McDaniel is also one of the five board members of the statewide Arkansas County Election Commissions Association (ACECA) See this link for more details on this organization. http://www.arelectioncommissions.org/
There will be a public comment meeting next Monday at 6:00pm. The meeting will be at the voting annex on Jefferson. [Evidently that is the same place we early vote 315 W. Jefferson.] I will be explaining the concept of voting centers and the consequences there of (namely getting rid of paper ballots).
I’m meeting with Dustin from the Jonesboro Sun tomorrow morning sometime to hash out a story (probably runs on Sunday) so people will know about the meeting. An announcement was also made last night at the pollworker training which means some of the election workers will probably attend. [Story appeared in the Sun today, one day before the meeting) and is copied and pasted below]
I’ll develop a Powerpoint over the weekend and forward to y’all early Monday (if not before) for review. My basic outline is this:
1) Context of the possible changes:
a) explain the re-precincting law (1 slide shows the law, 1 slide shows current precincts, 1 slide shows proposed precincts)
b) explain the law that allows vote centers (1 slide shows the law)
c) explain that the costs of new voting equipment and the paper ballot printing led us to consider vote centers (slide showing side by side comparison of M100 and IVO with costs of each…also point out that the M100 only stores 10 precincts)
d) explain that Craighead County is one of the few counties in Arkansas that use paper ballots (slide showing state map with color legend for counties based on how they vote)
e) show the trend of voters that use touch screen
2) Explain what it would mean if we went to vote centers:
a) voting locations will close (going from what we have now to 9-10)…slide showing ward map
b) in Jonesboro every ward will have a vote center (6 total)
c) there will be 3-4 in the county
d) there will be no more paper ballots except for absentee and provisional ballots
e) if you vote provisional on election day, your vote will not be counted if the reason you request a provisional ballot is because you don’t want to use touch screens
3) Show the difference between the M100 and the IVO…the purpose is to show that both are machines and that the IVO does have a paper trail.
The meeting is not mandatory but I would like you there if possible to help answer questions.
I appreciate all y’all’s hard work.
Forum to review voting sites, ballots
By Dustin Azlin, Sun Staff Writer
JONESBORO — The Craighead County Election Commission scheduled a public forum Monday night to inform voters of an alternative to adding more polling sites.
Election Commissioner Scott McDaniel plans to talk to citizens about voting centers, which voters can cast a ballot at regardless of what precinct they fall in.
If the commission takes that direction, six vote centers will open in Jonesboro and three to four would be placed in the county.
“Everybody would be able to vote at any one of those places,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel said in addition to added convenience for voters, the switch to vote centers would save the county thousands of dollars in material costs.
“In a big election, that would save the county anywhere between $15,000 and $45,000 depending on how many paper ballots you have to order,” he said.
But in order for the switch to remain cost-effective, paper ballots would have to become a thing of the past.
Because the voting machines that count paper ballots can only store 10 precincts, the county would have to buy 12 additional units, which includes machines used for early voting.
The machines cost about $4,000, McDaniel said.
“For this to work, you would have to get rid of paper ballots, except absentee and provisional ballots,” he said.
He added that if voting centers were enacted and paper ballots remained, the county would be responsible for about $120,000 in new machines and materials.
McDaniel added that number was a rough estimate, and it could be higher or lower.
And the commission is required by state law to purchase a certain number of paper ballots, regardless of anticipated voter turnout.
In addition to purchasing the ballots, the commission must also spend money storing the ballots for two years in a secure location.
In order to save costs to the county, the commission began looking at voting centers as an option.
Voting centers became an option after the Arkansas Legislature required states to bring the number of registered voters in each precinct to 3,000.
But McDaniel said the switch to voting centers would come with its share of problems.
The biggest issue he foresees is that it would be possible for voters to cast ballots at more than one location.
He hopes to counteract that issue by informing voters they will be caught if more than one vote is cast, and they would face a criminal charge of election fraud.
“The canvass process will catch them,” McDaniel said. “They absolutely will get caught.”
Another backup plan to prevent that from happening is electronic poll books, which are connected to a master list and will be able to tell if someone cast a vote elsewhere.
McDaniel also hopes to ease voters’ fears of removing paper ballots by demonstrating two machines at the public forum.
He plans to show voters that paper ballots are still counted by electronic machines, and touch-screen voting still gives a paper trail that voters can check to verify their vote.
And to the voters who are adamant about voting on paper, they can cast an absentee ballot.
If voting centers are chosen, Craighead County would be the first county in Arkansas to switch to the system.
“I think it’s a good idea and I hope we can figure out a way to make it work,” McDaniel said. “But if I don’t feel comfortable in our ability to run an efficient election without lots of problems and headaches, then what we have now works.”
“No sense in tweaking what we have if what we are replacing it with causes problems for the voters or us,” he added.
There will be costs associated with changing to vote centers, but it would be offset by paper ballot savings.
The Election Commission’s public forum is scheduled at 6 p.m. Monday at the Craighead County Election Annex at 315 W. Jefferson Ave.
Another forum is scheduled at 6 p.m. Feb. 10, in Lake City. A location for that forum hasn’t been decided.
“We want to hear from the voters. We want to hear from the people and hear what they have to say and also to clear up any misconceptions they might have about what we do,” McDaniel said. Other ACECA Board Members:
2nd Congressional District
Alma Gipson ACECA Secretary
Perry County Election Commissioner- Republican appointee
3rd Congressional District
Sebastian County Election Commissioner- Democratic appointee
4th Congressional District
Stuart Soffer, ACECA Vice President
Jefferson County Election Commissioner- Republican appointee
Susan Inman, ACECA President and Executive Director
Former Director of Elections, Pulaski County Election Commission- At Large
Arkansas State Board of Election Commissioners
Suggested reading concerning voting machines:
Maryland will return to paper ballots to stop Obama Election fraud
Paper Ballot bill will prevent vote machine election fraud
A return to paper ballots
Electronic Voting is not verifiable; Ask to use a paper ballot