Steamboat Springs Routt County officials are encouraging voters to try out the county's new voting system before the primary election in August.
Earlier this year, the Routt County Board of Com--missioners voted unanimously to use the company HART Intercivic to provide the county's new voting machines. County officials are buying the machines to meet requirements set by state and federal laws.
The county will have more than 30 voting machines, which will cost more than $200,000 each. That price includes the machines, project management services and training for staff and poll workers. Routt County will receive federal funding to help with the cost.
The machines will replace the county's paper ballot system. The machines use a system called e-Slate, which allows voters to scroll through options and press a button to make selections.
E-Slate is user friendly and intuitive, Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland said. The county has demonstrations of the machine at the clerk's office and online. Weinland also will visit businesses and groups to provide presentations.
"My hope is that we will have educated voters when they go into the booth," she said. "I really want to work on eliminating intimidation. I want people to be comfortable with the new process."
In August, voters will be able to vote at eight locations throughout the county. They will no longer be required to vote at a specific precinct.
County officials recently announced the voting centers. They are: the North Routt Community Charter School in Clark, the Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall in Hayden, the Steamboat Pilot conference room in Steamboat Springs, the Routt County Courthouse annex in Steamboat, the Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat, the Fairfield Inn conference room in Steamboat and the Oak Creek and Yampa town halls.
"The real advantage to vote centers is that people can vote where it's convenient for them. They don't have to go back to a precinct to vote," Weinland said.
And, she said, voters won't have to worry about picking the right location.
"There will be no wrong place to vote," she said.
The county is required to have an electronic poll book connected to the main database to ensure that no one votes twice, Weinland said.
"We have a lot of checks and balances in the election process making sure everything is in place to maintain the integrity of the process," she said.