THOMASVILLE — Many people have told Thomas County's elections supervisor casting ballots on new voting machines is not as difficult as some thought it might be.

"I've heard from a number of people it was so much easier than they thought it would be," said Frank Scoggins, elections supervisor. "Once they did it, they thought it was quite easy."

All Georgia counties have been equipped with new voting machines at state government's expense. Thomas County voters are using the machines for the first tine in the presidential preference primary.

Early voting began Monday and will continue until Friday, March 20. Voting is from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at the elections office, 1402 E. Jackson St. Saturday early voting is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 14.

At the end of the day Tuesday, 128 Republican and 260 Democratic primary ballots had been cast.

Voting still involves a touch screen. Once a ballot is marked on the screen, the voter is able to look at a printout of how he or she voted. The paper printout is placed into a scanner by the voter. The scanner reads information from the ballot and drops the ballot into a sealed bin.

Scoggins encourages early voting so elections office employees can help those who need assistance with the process. 

"We're here to assist voters in the mechanics of the voting process," he said, adding that voting takes "a minute or two." 

Myetta Mclendon, 18, voted for the first time Tuesday. The Southern Regional Technical College student found the voting process quick and easy.

New voting equipment will not delay the tabulation of votes when polls close and results are posted at the elections office.

Results at each polling place will be recorded on memory cards.

The memory cards will be placed in sealed bags and transferred immediately to the elections office for tabulation, Scoggins said.

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820 

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