V.I. voters will have to use brand new voting machines in the 2014 primary and general elections, and to help voters become familiar with them, the St. Croix District Board of Elections will be giving video demonstrations all over the big island in October.
The machines; DS 200 paper ballot tabulators make by ES&S, were a pet project of St. Croix District Board of Elections Chairman Adelbert Bryan, who spearheaded a campaign against the old, 1980s-vintage Danaher Electronic 1242 machines, saying they are unreliable and can possibly be manipulated. Despite many public claims, no evidence that they can actually be manipulated or that they ever have been manipulated has been presented by anyone. (See related links below)
The new tabulators have two advantages over the old machines: It has a paper ballot you hold in your hand, which is reassuring to some, especially those concerned about massive conspiracies to rig elections. And they produce a voter-verified paper trail, because the voter must fill out the ballot, which the machine will reject on the spot, if it is filled out wrong, and the ballot is stored. The old machines printed a tape only after the voting is done, so there was no way for a voter to see for themselves that the machine counted their votes properly.
With new machines, the process will changes, so the board is expanding education efforts so voters will have an easier time and there will be less confusion come election day. Board members and elections staff will show a video demonstration from the manufacturer.
The DS 200 voting tabulator demonstration video can be viewed at the V.I. Election System website.
Voting machine demonstrations scheduled so far include:
- Oct. 12, 19 and 26 at Plaza Extra West from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.;
- Oct. 13 at Randall "Doc" James Racetrack from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
- Oct. 23 in the University of the Virgin Islands Cafetorium from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.