Smith County Guards Against Hanging Chads In Tuesday's Election - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/04/02 Tyler

Smith County Guards Against Hanging Chads In Tuesday's Election

Once upon a time in America, no one knew what a "chad" was. Now, election accuracy has become a major issue.

"We feel that the punch card system that is used in Smith County is very reliable," said Election Administrator Paula Patterson. "We have had excellent results, and people can feel that their vote will count when it comes in to be counted on election night."

Paula's office has been preparing since July, and as for the chads, she says Smith County's system takes care of them.

"We very rarely see a hanging chad, the system here punches all the way through and then we empty the "Votomatic" each time after an election," she says. "And with the chads that fall out of those, I guarantee you they are being punched through."

Monday, every location was stocked with ballots and voting books, and a voting handbook. The handbook is the mosts important part. "This is very much not like Florida," Patterson explains. "Because these tell us exactly how to handle the situations that caused many problems in Florida."

The votes will be counted by two machines, and they do have a backup. The ballots are thick enough that tomorrow's rain and humidity shouldn't make them stick. Problems were anticipated, and planned for.

"I can speak for Smith County," Patterson says. "That I feel that our elections are very accurate. People can rest assured that their votes will count as they wish."

So tomorrow, Smith County wants you to vote with confidence. They assure you your voice will be heard.

Reid Kerr reporting.

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