Dear Editor,

This year Rhode Islanders voters will enter the voting booths to see new voting machines. Legislation passed in 2015 to purchase new voting machines, which I co-sponsored. The new machines replace ones that are nearly twenty years old, purchased in 1997.

On July 21, Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea announced the purchase of 590 new voting machines manufactured by Nebraska-based Elections Systems and Software to replace the previous machines. Additionally, city and town boards of canvassers will receive ballot on-demand printers that will not only ensure that there is never a shortage of ballots at any polling place, while reducing waste associated with printing too many ballots.

So what can voters expect? It’s still a paper ballot. The biggest change you’ll notice, is how you fill out the ballot; no longer do you connect the arrows, you fill in the circle. The process is generally the same: you fill out a paper ballot then place it in the scanner.

The Secretary of State’s office is conducting voter outreach to familiarize voters with the new machines. The new machines will be in Newport on the following days at these locations: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM at Edward King House-Newport and Wednesday, September 21, 2016 from11:30 AM to 12:30 PM at the Park Holm Senior Center-Newport.

I encourage Newport voters to go and take a test drive on the new voting machines. This will be a very busy election year and voters should be sure to understand both their voting rights and the new machines.

Representative Lauren Carson
RI House District 75 – Newport