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New hybrid voting machines coming to Elkhart County

GOSHEN, Ind.-- In Elkhart County, new voting machines are being introduces to help increase voter confidence.

“Both the touch screen mechanics as well as having that paper trail that the voters will be able to check and physically see and be comfortable with submitting," said Elkhart County voter outreach coordinator, Kelsey McClure.

“We want the voter to be confident that what they actually vote gets tabulated," said Chad Clingerman, voter registration office manager.

Elkhart County is also staying one step ahead of the system with the upgrade.  

Currently, there’s a bill in motion that will require Indiana counties to have a voter paper trail.

"The requirement that seems to be forthcoming of having to have that voter verifiable paper trail, that really solidified the decision for us,”said McClure.

Old machines are out and the new ones are coming in with a close to two million dollar price tag.

Think of these new machines as a glorified pen.

Basically, these new machines will work strictly as a ballot marker. You’ll choose your candidates on the touch-screen, but a physical paper ballot will print.

“It’s going to have a touch screen where you will select your candidates, who you want to vote for. Then it’ll print it onto ballot paper then which you will then after checking everything looks good, enter into a ballot reader which will then tabulates the votes there," said McClure.

The new machines will make their debut during May's municipal elections, and having poll workers trained in the new equipment will bring a smoother transition into the next presidential election.

“We want to get ahead of the curb learning our system, learning how to set it up, learing how to deploy it. Get our employees used to it before the next presidential election," said Clingerman.

Only thing left now is figuring out where the $1.7 million dollars to fund the upgrade will come from.

Elkhart county is looking into local financial institutions, a self-financing option or whether there’s a fund available for the county to dig into.

That decision won’t be concrete until next Monday when Elkhart county commissioners look into the county's options.

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