Big Bird, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and others will be on the ballot on Feb. 28 and March 1 when the Prince William County Office of Elections holds mock elections to test two types of voting machines being considered for use in Prince William County.
Doug Geib, the Prince William County general registrar, said there are several reasons for the County to move to new paper-based voting systems to replace the machines in use now. “The ones that we have now are all touch-screen, and they’re coming to the end of their life. Every election there’s just a higher failure rate.”
A second reason to move to new voting machines is that legislation from the Virginia General Assembly prohibits the County from purchasing the type of touch-screen machines that are currently in use in Prince William County.
A third reason is that the paper-based machines speed up the lines. With paper-based machines, people fill out a paper ballot and then stick it in a scanner, which Geib said will speed things up and get voters through the process and on their way. “There’s a new generation of paper-based ballot machines that are coming through the state certification process right now. The paper-based machines are faster when you’re voting.”
Geib said the mock election will help his office determine which of the two paper-based voting machines people like best. “We feel like we’ve identified two very competent machines that we think the voters here in Prince William County will like. We hope that the public takes interest in what kind of voting machines are going to be used in the future in Prince William County, and this is their chance for a hands-on experience with them.”
The objective, Geib said, is to have the machines in place in time for the November 2014 election, but there are some steps in between now and then. “The goal is to purchase them so that we can use them in next November’s election. We’re still waiting for state certification of some of the machines, so it’s not necessarily in our hands. We’re at the mercy some of the scheduling of what machines are becoming available. If we can get them in time for the November election, that’s when they’ll be unveiled.”
The mock election scheduled for Friday, Feb. 28, will be held between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo Building at 15941 Donald Curtis Drive in Woodbridge. The mock election on Saturday, March 1, will be at Manassas Mall between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Other questions on the mock ballot
will ask people to name the best actor and actress of our time, to choose which super power they would like to have, to pick their favorite vacation spot and to declare their favorite super hero.