Boone County preps for new voting machines

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COLUMBIA - When Boone County voters head to the polls to cast their vote for president in 2020, they'll be using new voting machines.

On Thursday, voters will have the chance to use and give feedback on three new models the Boone County Clerk's Office is considering buying.

Boone County Clerk Brianna Lennon said the old machines went into use in 2006 and it's time for a change.

"If you're thinking about how technology has progressed in that 13 years, there's been a lot of changes and upgrades to the voting equipment market," Lennon said. "We take really good care of our equipment, but it's time for us to look at the newer models."

Three different companies are vying for the county's business: Election Systems & Software, Henry M. Adkins & Son and Elkins-Swyers Company.

Lennon said Thursday's event is all about figuring out which company's machine works best for voters.

"All three vendors will be there. They'll be set up with all their equipment, you can ask questions, you can touch the equipment, you can vote ballots on it," Lennon said.

Lennon said voters can first expect to see the new machines in use for Missouri's primary election in March of 2020.  

"The whole intention is to make sure that people have a hands-on experience, to be able to look at this equipment, see what it's like, see how it's different, and see what works and what doesn't," Lennon said. 

The event kicks off at 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon at the Activity & Recreation Center in northwest Columbia. Lennon said the event is important for everyone who plans on voting in the future.

"A lot of this equipment is more user-friendly, so that's why I want people to come out, voters interact with the machines, poll workers who are used to unloading and programming the machines, to see what the options are right now," Lennon said.

More public demonstrations will be scheduled after a winning vendor is chosen later this summer.