JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Early voting will begin Feb. 12 for a special city council election in Jacksonville to fill the seat of the late Tommy Hazouri. And when that happens, a new way to vote will also debut.
It’s called ExpressVote. The touchscreen voting system will be placed at each early voting site, as well as at each of the 199 precincts on election day, Feb. 22.
You don’t have to use it — the old paper ballot system will still be what most people use.
This new system was unveiled Thursday, after Duval County Supervisor of Elections Office staff ran a public test, which is done before each election, to make sure every eligible vote will be counted, and the current system passed.
The new voting machines will replace the old ones used by people with disabilities, but any voter can use them.
“There really is no limit to what we would be able to use it for. You could see it one day eventually replacing ballot on demand and maybe even replacing pre-printed ballots in the precincts,” said Robert Phillips, chief elections officer.
News4JAX got to see first-hand how this is going to work.
The ballots are just blank pieces of paper that are inserted into the machine by a poll worker. After the poll worker has the machine prepared for you, first, you’ll select the language that you’re going to be using. Then it will show you a list of candidates. After you choose one, you’ll be able to verify your selection. It then prints out your ballot, which you’ll insert into the ballot machine. The machine will scan the ballot, and that’s what they will read when they tabulate the votes on election night.
There will be a paper trail that could be used in the case of a recount.
It cost about $ 1 million to buy these machines for all of the precincts.
For more information regarding Duval County’s introduction of the ExpressVote Universal Voting System, call the Supervisor of Elections Office at 904-255-VOTE (8683).
Republican Nick Howland and Democrat Tracye Polson are on the ballot for the At-Large City Council Group 3 seat. Every Duval County voter can vote in this special election.