The punch-card voting system that was successfully tested in the city's special election in May, will be used in Tuesday's election for school board members and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners.
The system, known as Datavote, is designed to speed up the counting of votes, a problem that has plagued past District elections. To work the Davavote system, voters insert a small computer card into a machine that looks much like a stapler. Residents vote by depressing a handle on the machine, which punches a hole beside the name of the candidate selected by the voter.
Mary S. Rodgers, elections administrator for the D.C. Board of Elections, said the 1,738 Davavote machines will be used at all 137 polling places in the city. At every polling place, she said, there will be someone on hand to explain the new voting process.
Using the new system, Rodgers said, election officials expect to tally votes for most of the races by 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. She said write-in candidates in the more than 300 ANC elections, however, may have to wait more than a week before their results will be confirmed.
"We are going to have to find out if these winners are registered voters in their Districts and if they have lived there for at least 60 days to qualify as ANC representatives," Rodgers said. "After that, we have to confirm that they want to take that office."
The decision to buy the balloting equipment and a related computer system from Datavote, a San Francisco-based division of the Diamond International Corp., was made after the successful vote count in the May election.