The process for curbside voting in the upcoming elections will change due to the acquisition of new voting machines for voters with disabilities.
In past elections, the Registrar’s Office was able to take the AVS WINvote machines out to the curbside voter (individuals physically unable to walk into the polling place or stand for some time). Earlier this year, the Virginia State Board of Elections decertified the WINvote machines As a result, Montgomery County was required to find another machine to meet the needs of voters with disabilities. Since the Registrar’s Office had already decided to purchase the Unisyn OVO optical scan machines, it chose to utilize the Unisyn OVI machine. The OVI machine prints a paper ballot read by the OVO machine, like the regular ballots used in the polling places. This ballot is saved and will be recounted if a recount is necessary.
Unlike the WINvote machine, this machine cannot be taken outside the polls for curbside voting. It is stationary and voters must come into the polling place to use it, so voters who cannot enter the polling place will have to mark a regular paper ballot.
When the Officers of Election are notified a voter is outside the polling place and needs assistance to vote, two Officers, when possible, will go out to the voter, ask for a photo ID and explain the process. They will bring the photo ID into the polling place and check-in the voter. Officers will obtain the correct paper ballot for the voter, place it in a protective folder, and take a clip board and marking instrument out to the voter. The voter will mark the ballot, place it back into the security folder and return it to the Officers of Election. The Officers will then take the ballot back into the polling place and place the ballot into the Unisyn OVO optical scan machine.
If the ballot is accepted by the machine, the Officers will inform the voter he or she may depart the polling location. If there is an issue with the ballot, i.e., the voter has over-voted in one or more races, the ballot is blank, etc., the Officers will return to the curbside voter and determine if the voter wants another ballot or if the voter wants to cast this ballot, even though the over-voted race will not be counted. The Officers will make sure the voter’s choice is completed.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
If you are a voter affected by the change, please feel free to contact the Montgomery County General Registrar’s Office, (540) 382-5741, for a more complete explanation of this new process.