Tracy voters cast their ballots once again with a few fingertaps on a computer screen.
Poll workers said that the electronic ballot process posed few problems at local polling places, although one machine in Banta was reported out of order when polls opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday. The machine was running again later in the day.
Most voters didn’t have any problems with the electronic ballots, said Dominique Hurst, volunteer poll worker at Villalovoz Elementary School for the past six years. She added that poll workers were supposed to help each new voter through the electronic voting process.
Valerie Ferrante said she was a little confused as she walked away from the polls at Villalovoz School. Once in the parking lot, Ferrante realized she’d overlooked the 11th Congressional District election, a race she considered important.
“There’s nothing I can do about it now,” Ferrante said after she went back to the poll booths. “Oh well. Now I really like paper ballots, because it’s more clear.”
As voters checked in to cast their ballots, each was given an electronic card with personal voting information instead of a paper ballot. Once inserted into the voting machine, the voter’s name appeared on the touch screen next to a brief set of instructions. Three or four races appeared on the screen at one time, allowing the voter to scroll back and forth and change a vote at any time until the ballot was cast.
Mitch Waterman said he had to admit that electronic voting is much easier, but he’d prefer a tangible ballot. “I would’ve felt better if they printed out my ballot. That would make me walk away with absolute comfort.”
Ed and Karen Krueger of Tracy went as far as to call the electronic voting process fun.
“We had everything checked off in our sample ballots before we came, so it made it faster and easier,” Karen said. “We really enjoyed it.”
Like it or hate it, electronic ballots make the volunteer poll workers’ job much easier. They print a sheet of results instead of counting the number of ballots by hand.
Hurst said electronic voting ensures she and her team of volunteers are home by 9 p.m., an hour and a half earlier than in paper ballot elections. And hanging chads are nonexistent.