HOPEWELL, Va. (WRIC) — The way voters cast their ballots Nov. 7 might be a little different than the last time they went to the polls.
Virginia officially ousted touchscreen machines in favor of paper ballots out of concerns of hacking.
In September, the Department of Elections called for touchscreen voting machines to be decertified in Virginia. The State Board of Elections approved the request.
More than 20 localities, including Colonial Heights and Hopewell, were impacted.
Pamala Clark is the general registrar for Hopewell.
“The election is right around the corner,” she said.
Since the state’s decision, Clark has been working to secure new, approved equipment.
“I think people will like the new machines. Very easy to use, but it will be different,” said Clark.
The new gear is now in place. Clark didn’t have much time to find them.
Touchscreens were previously set to go away in 2020.
But the Board approved the request to ban them with just weeks to spare.
“And our budgets, of course, had already been done. Bad time of year for everybody,” said Clark “The money tree back there in the backyard is already plucked clean.”
On Tuesday, Sharon and Terry Hertz stopped by the office to vote absentee.
They were some of the first to use the new equipment.
After marking their selections, they both inserted their paper ballots into the machine.
“I didn’t see where it was any more difficult,” said Sharon Hertz. “As long as you can read.”
Clark said it might take some voters a little more time in the booth.
“They’re not going to be any harder. They’re just going to be different,” she said. “And sometimes when you’re used to something, that slows you down.”
The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 16.