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Tompkins County Board of Elections Unveils New Voting Machines

Tompkins County is rolling out new voting machines as part of a $600,000 investment in the future. Voters in the Villages of Cayuga Heights, Groton, Dryden, and Trumansburg will be the first to use the new machines on March 19 during village elections. The new machines will be deployed County-wide for the April 2 Presidential Primary and the 8 day early voting period that precedes it.

With the introductions of the new machines Tompkins County voters won’t notice a big change in the voting process. The goal of introducing the new machines is to improve the voter experience while utilizing up-to-date technology.

According to staff from the Tompkins County Board of Elections, the new machines are smaller, quicker at processing ballots, hold more ballots, and reduce the chance of paper jams.

The new voting machines are manufactured by the Clear Ballot Group and are certified by the New York State Board of Elections for use in New York State. In addition to the voter marked paper ballots, polling places will be offering an ADA compliant option that allows the voter to independently indicate their choices and then it will print a ballot for the voter to cast. Unlike the previous machines that were ADA compliant that took a voter up to 30 minutes to vote and cast a ballot, the new ADA compliant machine takes a voter about 3-5 minutes to vote and cast a ballot.

The new machines represent a 15-year leap in technology. In addition to the new Clear Ballot machines, the Tompkins County Board of Elections hopes that by 2025 the county can offer a “ballot-on-demand” procedure at all of its polling places. Ballot-on-demand voting will help the Board of Elections staff polling places more efficiently and save on the local cost of printing ballots.

On March 11, community members at the Finger Lakes Independence Center were offered the opportunity to test out the machines and speak with Board of Elections staff about accessibility and ADA compliance to cast ballots (photos available for media use).