05/11/05 — Duplin residents to get opportunity to test new voting machines

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Duplin residents to get opportunity to test new voting machines

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on May 11, 2005 1:47 PM

KENANSVILLE -- Residents will have a chance to test three voting machines before the county decides which to buy.

The machines will be set up in the Kenan Memorial Auditorium, 437 N. Main St., Kenansville for two days in June to give people a chance to test them and ask questions.

A different vendor is coming each of three times, which include 10 a.m. June 6 and at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. June 7. Election officials recommend residents come to as many sessions as possible so they can compare the machines. Each vendor's machine will be different from the others.

Duplin is one of five counties in the state that still use the punch-card system. Federal law requires these counties to replace the equipment no later than the first federal election in 2006.

State law requires the elections board to test new equipment in an election before it can make a final purchase.

The upcoming municipal elections are the only elections Duplin has to test vote the equipment, Elections Board Director Suzanne Southerland said.

"The more people who educate themselves about voting equipment, the more people we will have to assist our voters. If all our citizens are minimally familiar with the different equipment, then they will be better-prepared to assist others."

Refreshments will be served, and people are encouraged to contact the Duplin County Board of Elections about when they plan to come. The deadline for residents to let county officials know when they are planning to come to test is 4 p.m. June 2. Call the elections office at 910-296-2170 or e-mail at duplin.boe@ncmail.net.