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Marshall Clerk Satisfied With New Voting Machines

MOUNDSVILLE — A somewhat uncontroversial election night in Marshall County was the perfect testing ground for the rollout of new voting machines, according to county clerk Melanie Madden.

The express vote kiosks saw their first use this week, where Madden said the poll workers learned the new machines fairly quickly, with the few problems and hiccups easily corrected at the county office.

“It’s very user-friendly,” Madden said. “It was brand-new to them, so I know it was a new experience for all of us. We had a few minor glitches, a couple precincts didn’t complete the process, but once they got to the courthouse, we could do it here, so it was no issue.”

Voters are given a card with their cast ballots for review, which are reinserted and the data collected on a flash-based thumb drive, which is, in turn, transferred to a master drive which gathers information from each machine at a precinct.

The final machine produces a tape showing the candidates and number of ballots cast, which is compared against statements and ballots cast at the end of the day, collected by poll workers.

Madden said the new machines feature tight security of cast ballots, being unconnected to the internet at the polling sites, and with the computer back at the county office also being completely offline.

“It’s really safe; the machines are never connected to the internet, and the equipment that the flash drives at our counting center here, that computer’s not connected to the internet.

That makes it safe,” Madden said. “Flash drives, it’s pretty difficult to alter anything on those.”

With the Glen Dale mayoral seat the only contested local race in Marshall County, Madden said the voter turnout was somewhat low, but that low numbers were expected in the midterm. Unofficial totals from Tuesday indicate a total of 4,537 ballots were cast out of 19,564 registered voters, representing a 23.19% voter turnout overall, 35.53% Republican turnout, 26.94% Democratic, 7.89% Mountain party, and 0.35% non-partisan turnout.

“It went about how we expected — not a huge turnout for a midterm election, and most were uncontested at this point,” Madden said. “… During our presidential elections, it could have been total chaos.”

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