One Last Time for Punch Card Ballots

The final day for Onslow County's elections folks was spent setting up polling places the same way they did in 2000, with those punch card ballot machines.

Onslow is one county that has not yet invested in new voting equipment and will run the risk of seeing those dreaded chads that caused so many problems in Florida four years ago. While they haven't had problems here, the equipment is getting old and will have to be replaced by January 2006 under a new state elections law that bans mechanical voting machines.

But the county says voters there may still see paper in the voting process, with some high-tech ballot scanners that let voters mark a traditional ballot but read them electronically. And best of all, the cost could be far less than the million plus dollars for fully automated touch-screen voting machines being used in other parts of the state.