SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It’s a controversial race, tight but tasty. Hershey’s chocolate or gummy bears?
Do you prefer the New York Giants, New York Jets or Buffalo Bills?
Those were the candidates printed on actual ballots this week at the Onondaga County Board of Elections.
The “favorite candy” and “favorite NFL team” election were used to test out new voting machines, Onondaga County’s first scammer upgrade in 15 years.
Voters will see the machines when they vote this November.
The new devices, made by Clear Ballot, will replace the 15-year-old scanners made by Dominion.
“It had a 10-year life span, and we were well beyond that,” said Democratic Commissioner Dustin Czarny. “It was time to make the change, and we wanted to make the change before the next presidential election.”
The biggest county race this year is for Onondaga County Executive, but turnouts in odd years are routinely smaller, giving voters a new year to customize themselves with the new equipment before the surge of voters expected in 2024.
The process won’t change for voters, from filling out the ballot bubbles to feeding it through the machine.
The machine will look and sound different, but more importantly, it’s new software and is less susceptible to paper jams.
“Clear Ballot impressed me with their EMS system,” said Republican Commissioner Michele Sardo. “Easier for our machine techs to create the ballots.”
The machines and associated upgrades cost $2.9 million.
Voters in Oswego County will have the same machines this year too.
Every Onondaga County polling place will also be outfitted with printers starting this year. It allows ballots to be printed on demand per person instead of the Board printing batches that often go unused and are thrown out.
Early voting locations have always had printers because they’re open to all voters, regardless of what their home polling place is within Onondaga County.
The printers in every polling place will allow the Board of Elections to let any registered voter vote anywhere within Onondaga County. The plan is to start that in 2025.