MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. — New voting machines are coming to Morgan County and are about to be used for first time. County officials say they're replacing decades-old equipment that assists people with disabilities who are voting with 42 new Express Vote machines. One will be set up at all 39 voting precincts in the county, and one will be set up for absentee ballots. There are also two spare machines.
"These we like because they're much smaller, more portable, easier to navigate through, and the technology is newer," said Morgan County Probate Judge Greg Cain. "The Automark was the older device we were using. It was much larger. The technology was older and it was becoming difficult to get replacement parts for because they were not being manufactured anymore."
The new machines have braille, and they someone to be able to connect a paddle as well as a sip and puff device.
"It's the same principle [as the old machines]. It's a ballot-marking device that allows a person that has some kind of accessibility problem, and they want to mark their own ballot and not have to have assistance in marking their ballot-- this machine allows them to do it," he said. "Hopefully it will make voting more pleasant for anyone that uses them if they choose to use them."
Cain also says the county keeps an eye on room for improvements at the precinct locations. They do a handicap accessibility survey provided by the Department of Justice every two years.
"We look at the polling place from the time that you park to the time that you enter in to the polling place itself," said Cain. "Are there obstacles for some people who are handicap that they may have to overcome? If so, how do we temporarily fix that on Election Day?"
The Express Vote Machines will also be used in Mobile and Baldwin Counties on Tuesday. Cain says the machines are secure and safe for folks to use.