eSlate gets voters' approval

More than one-fifth of the voters in a Charlottesville, Va., city council

election last month cast their votes on an electronic system that was making

its debut in Virginia, and the majority liked the experience.

An exit survey was distributed among voters to gather feedback on eSlate,

the new electronic voting device, and 81 percent returned their surveys,

according to Sheri Iachetta, Charlottesville registrar. Iachetta said that

90 percent of respondents who used the new equipment were satisfied, but

the remaining 10 percent were not impressed with the electronic tool.

"Some people just don't like computers and electronics," Iachetta said,

adding that she was impressed with the technology, especially its accuracy.

"The machine will not allow an over vote, making it extremely accurate.

Not only was the machine accurate, it worked very quickly as well."

The eSlate device was developed by Hart InterCivic and is about the

size of a legal pad. After entering a code to get the correct ballot, voters

turn a wheel to select their choice on the screen. Audible signals, large

red and green buttons and headphones are available for those who have vision

or hearing impairments. Once a voter hits enter on a selection, the vote

is shown in bold on the screen. After entering all selections, voters may

review their selections before submitting them.

Certification of the eSlate device in Virginia could be near thanks

to the success rate achieved during the general election in Charlottesville.

"I truly believe that people are looking forward to getting rid of those

punch cards," Iachetta said.

States that have already instituted eSlate as a voting system include

Colorado, Maryland and Texas.

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