CHARLESTON -- A public demonstration of Mississippi County's new AutoMARK voting machines will be from 2-4 p.m. July 24 in the County Commission meeting room located on the first floor of the county courthouse.
The demonstration, which will be conducted by County Clerk Junior DeLay, will provide the public with an opportunity to see how the machine works before the primary election Aug. 8.
DeLay said the new voting machines will serve a two-fold purpose as audio-
visual features will accommodate those with varying disabilities and ballot-
checking capabilities will enable "second chance voting" by ensuring ballots are voted properly.
"The use of the AutoMARK machines is not mandated," DeLay said. "They are simply available for any voter who wishes to utilize them. Voters may still mark their ballots in the traditional manner and ballots will still be tabulated at the courthouse by an optical scanner."
Every polling place in the county will have an AutoMARK machine beginning with the August primary election. The AutoMARK machines and a new optical scanner for ballot tabulation were purchased with federal grant funds with no cost to the county.
The equipment was necessary in order to comply with the Help America Vote Act which included an implementation deadline of 2006.
"Summarily, the voters of Mississippi County will see virtually no change in the way their ballots appear and the way they have voted their ballots for the past several years," DeLay said. "The new AutoMARKs are primarily to serve those with disabilities but, again, are available for any voter who wants to ensure the accuracy of their ballot."