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North Andover Tests New Diebold Voting Machines
Tom Duggan

The town of North Andover made the new Diebold voting machines available to the public on November 7th, as voters were able to test the machines for the first time during the mid-term elections.

Town Clerk Joyce Bradshaw said the experiment seemed to be a complete success. “About a hundred people volunteered to use the Diebold machines in this election and we didn’t have any complaints at all,” she said.

“We were chosen by the Secretary of State’s office to be a test site for the electronic Diebold machines as part of the Help America Vote Act,” she continued.

“There were 8-10 communities in the area that were also chosen to use this type of machine. The machines are very easy to use and we expect that they will be standard by the presidential primaries in two years.”

Bradshaw said the machines were supposed to be implemented statewide this past September, but Secretary of State William Galvin had problems with using the original Diebolds because there were no paper print outs to check the accuracy of the electronic voting. 

“The Secretary of State refused to certify the other machines and he was very good about getting a machine that would print out a paper ballot for testing.”

Bradshaw said the cost of purchasing Diebolds for every precinct would be very expensive, adding, “It is a huge purchase to get machines for every precinct in the commonwealth, and I think the secretary of state wanted to make sure the machines were dependable and easy for voters to use before we embarked on such a huge purchase.” Bradshaw also tested the machines after voting had closed. “We did test the machines after everyone voted and they agreed with the vote totals we had, so there were no problems in North Andover … though I don’t know how testing went in any of the other sites. In North Andover we had no complaints; most people said they were very easy to use. What was great about these machines was that they made it very easy for people with a vision problem to vote by using larger text on the screen and headphones to verbally explain to the voter who they were casting their ballot for.”

Bradshaw said she prefers the Accuvote machines cur-rently being used in N. Andover because they are easier to process, harder to tamper with and there is a comfort level she and her staff have with them. “But,” she added, “these new machines are a lot easier for independent-min-ded voters - people who need lots of assistance now will be able to use these new machines with almost no help at all.”



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The November, 2006 Edition of the Valley Patriot
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