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‘Black box voting’ has upside

Recently The Union published a letter decrying “black box voting.” I’ve heard onerous predictions about these machines. I was concerned enough to abandon my commitment as a pollworker to declare my opposition to using them. Yesterday, I attended training, ready to declare all out opposition to this new technology.

I learned this: The “black boxes” are ballot boxes where voters deposit paper ballots. The ballot box has an optical scanner just like the optical scanners used for years by Elections to count votes. The “black box” scanners count voters’ paper ballots as voters place their paper ballots in the box.

In the past, when voters accidentally mark two votes in one category and the Elections office’s optical scanner kicks the ballot out, the voter isn’t present and neither vote counts. With the optical scanner at the precinct, voters can correct mistakes by voiding that ballot and filling out another one.



One touch-screen voting machine is available at each voting place for voters with disabilities. It displays paper tallies as votes are cast and no one has to use it.

By the way, the pencil and paper process changed. Now, you use a pen.




Ellen McCord

Grass Valley


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