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— Paper ballots will be available to anyone who wishes to use one during the 2010 elections.

“There is no intent to deprive people of their right to vote with a paper ballot,” Tim Hutchinson, secretary of the election commission, said last week.

Last week, Bill Williams, chairman of the Benton County Election Commission, said that the commission hoped to have 100 percent electronic voting by 2012’s elections with the exception of provisional and absentee ballots.

The question remaining for the commission: how many paper ballots should be printed for each election.

The Benton County Quorum Court will vote Dec. 17 whether to approve the expenditure of $360,000 to purchase 200 electronic voting machines. Should the request be approved, commissioners hope the additional machines will result in more voters opting to use the machines. The commission could save $95,616 it now budgets for printing.

Additional voting machines “will give us better predictions of what the voters prefer and who prefers paper ballots,” Williams said.

Williams said that many people who chose to vote on a paper ballot in the 2008 elections did so because the machines had lines while the paper ballots did not.

News, Pages 8 on 12/02/2009

Print Headline: Paper ballots will be on hand for 2010 elections

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