Voting Machines Readily Accepted

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All of Tuesday's votes were cast on new touch-screen voting machines.

As part of a federal mandate, registrars nationwide are getting millions of dollars to upgrade their systems.

What did voters think about the new system?

From all accounts, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Voters said it was simple, fast, and problem-free.

Sparks voters were the first in Northern Nevada to try out the touch screen system.

"it was really fast. I really like that I was in and out," said voter Charlene Courtney.

Others were impressed by the savings for the county and the environmental bonus of not using so much extra paper. Said voter Beth Wittock: "This'll be more cost effective way to go."

Dan Burk\Washoe County Registrar]
"In the Sparks alone it will save $13,000 for this election," said Dan Burk, Washoe County Voter Registrar. "If we use it for early voting in 2004, we could save the county $45,000."

The voting is faster but the Registrar says tallying the ballots still takes time because staffers still have to load the information into the central system.

As for early concerns that seniors might not adjust to the new technology . . . "I think it's much more simple for seniors to touch a screen than punch a hole in ballot," said voter Lester Courtney.

With no major catastrophes in the touchscreen debut, plans are underway to phase it into permanence statewide.