LITTLE VALLEY - Election Day might be 90 days away, but Cattaraugus County voters will have 23 chances to see and use new voting machines starting Thursday in Portville, announced Election Commissioners Kevin Burleson and Sue Fries.
Voters can attend a machine education open house at locations throughout the county from Yorkshire to Salamanca and from Portville to Randolph.
While town of Allegany voters used the optical scan ballot technology last year in a pilot program, voters in all 32 towns and both cities will use the new machines on Primary Day (Sept. 14) and for the General Election Day on Nov. 2.
Cattaraugus County is one of 57 counties in the state to purchase the Dominion Imagecast voting machines.
Voters will still sign in with inspectors at their polling locations, but will be given a paper ballot inside a security folder - used to conceal how they voted. At a privacy booth, the voters mark ovals on a paper ballot next to the candidate of their choice to cast a vote. Then the voter places the ballot into the machine's scanner where it is scanned, counted and deposited in a locked ballot box.
Unlike the lever voting machines and some touch-screen systems, the new system provides a paper trail of every voter's selections.
To comply with federal law, the Imagecast machines also allow disabled voters to independently mark a ballot during a voting session. The blind can use an audio system to hear the ballot choices while physically-challenged voters can use a push-button interface or even a sip and puff device to vote. The ballot marking systems have been deployed for the past three years with minimal use.
The county Board of Elections will use 58 Imagecast machines at 53 polling sites during elections this year.
The voter schools will run from 6:30 p.m. til 8:30 p.m. unless noted. Voters need not stay for the entire two-hour open house, but may stop by, vote on the new machine and leave.
They will be held as follows:
Aug. 5 at the Portville Town Hall, Route 417, Portville.
Aug. 9 at the New Albion Town Hall, 14 Main St., Cattaraugus.
Aug. 10 at the Little Valley Senior Citizen meeting at the Little valley Village Municipal Building.
Aug. 10 12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. at the Little Valley Village Hall, 103 Rock City St., Little Valley.
Aug. 11 Noon - 2 p.m. at the Great Valley Firehall Clubhouse, Depot St., Great Valley.
Aug. 11 at the Franklinville Fire Hall, 75 North Main St., Franklinville.
Aug. 12 at the Salamanca Town Hall, Route 353, Salamanca.
Aug. 16 at the Yorkshire Town Hall, 82 S. Main St., Delevan.
Aug. 17 12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. at the John Ash Senior Center, Barry St., Olean.
Aug. 17 at the Perrysburg Town Hall, 10460 Peck Hill Rd., Perrysburg.
Aug. 18 at the Ashford Community Center, Route 240, West Valley.
Aug. 19 at the Salamanca City Municipal Building lobby, 225 Wildwood Ave., Salamanca.
Aug. 20 at the Salamanca Senior Center, 20 Main St., Salamanca.
Aug. 23 at the Great Valley Town Hall, Route 219, Great Valley.
Aug. 24 at the South Dayton Village Library, 17 Park St., South Dayton
Aug. 25 at the Farmersville Town Hall, 8963 Lake Ave., Farmersville.
Aug. 26 at the Machias King Library, 9538 Main St., Machias.
Aug. 30 at the Persia Town Hall, 8 W. Main St., Gowanda.
Aug. 31 at the Randolph Town Hall, 72 Main St., Randolph.
Sept. 1 at the Ellicottville Fire Hall, 1 Lyn Weishan Drive, Ellicottville.
Sept. 2 at the Olean Municipal Building lobby 101 E. State St., Olean.
Sept. 8 at the Gowanda Happy Travelers Club meeting, 201 Aldrich St. Gowanda Moose Lodge.
Sept. 9 at the Hinsdale Town Hall, Route 16N, Hinsdale.