New voting equipment awaits Shawnee County voters

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – With Election Day coming soon, polling places are gearing up for the big day. When you get to the voting booth this year there may be some new things on the ballot, but there is also some new technology at the Shawnee County Election for this election season.

About 170 new touch screen voting machines were bought 6 months ago, costing taxpayers $500,000. They are primarily used for those with disabilities, but anyone can ask to use it.

“For a lot of voters this will be the first time they see it,” Shawnee County Election Commissioner Andrew Howell said.

The machines print out your ballot, then you put it in the new tabulation machine. The new technology comes after voters and election officials both saw flaws with the old machines.

“Many of them said they would feel more secure I think with knowing there is a piece of paper with every voter rather than a hard drive that we are storing votes on,” Howell said.

“The old equipment was 20 years old and every election we would have a number of failures with the old cards,” Howell said.

And new machines won’t be the only thing you see when you head to the voting booth…

“We’ve got nearly 800 election workers,” Howell said.

One hundred more election workers will be on hand to help, all thanks to this being a presidential election year. The county election officials are asking for your patience next Tuesday when it comes to casting your ballot.

“On election day however some of our larger locations there will be some waiting. There will be a large enough turn out there are gonna be some lines,” Howell said.

Most people will use paper ballots when they go to the polls in Shawnee County. The election commissioner is encouraging people to go to the election office for advance voting. The last day to vote in advance is November 7th.

Shawnee County says about 7,500 people have already voted. Riley County Election Officials say they have had 4,900 people so far. And Lyon County says about 5% of people there have already voted.

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