Houston, Miss. (WCBI) – Voters in Chickasaw County will notice a big change when they head to the polls next week. For the first time in years, votes will be marked on paper ballots.
For two weeks, Chickasaw County election workers were trained on the new machines, which will electronically scan and count each ballot. The electoral commission is also making sure that every machine is working and ready for election day, November 8.
“Today we are finishing up setting up all the machines, ranging from everything from making sure they plug in and turn on, to security, to electing samples loaded, we had samples of ballots that we went through,” District Two Elections Commissioner Gary Huffman said.
For the first time in years, voters in Chickasaw County will use paper ballots when casting their ballots. The change was mandated by Mississippi lawmakers.
“The state legislature has mandated by the 2024 election that all precincts, all counties have paper ballots or use a machine that produces a paper ballot,” Huffman said.
A scanner machine will be placed in each constituency, as well as a machine for voters with special needs. Huffman says paper ballots provide an auditable trail that all-electronic touchscreen machines don’t.
“The big concern has always been the lack of a paper ballot, which our old machines did not produce. The big advantage of these machines is that the voter physically holds a physical ballot in their hands, marks it themselves. same and puts that ballot in the ballot counter and then it goes into a locked ballot box,” Huffman said.
Currently, an estimated 34% of Mississippians live in counties with only touchscreen voting machines. But in two years, that number will drop to zero because every Mississippian who votes will do so on a ballot.
The state covered 80% of the cost of the new machinery for Chickasaw County. Election day is next Tuesday. Polling stations are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. You must show government-issued photo ID to vote.
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