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League of Women Voters

Iowa Voting Machines

The voting systems used in Iowa are optical scan and Hand counted paper ballots.

Optical Scanning: With this system, you will recieve a card or sheet of paper, which you take over to a private table or booth. The card has the names of the various candidates and ballot measures printed on it. With a pen or pencil you fill in a little box or circle or the space between two arrows. In some places, you can check your card or paper right there at the polling place by feeding it into a card-reading machine to make sure you have voted the way you want to. When you are finished filling out all the cards. You may bring the cards over to a ballot box, where poll workers will show you how to put the cards in the box. Or in some places, you may feed the completed cards or papers into a computer device that counts the votes. When Election Day is over, the computer counts how many votes were cast for each candidate.

Paper Ballots: Paper ballots are one of the oldest ways of voting in America. They are still used on Election Day. Paper ballots are mostly used for absentee ballots. When you come to the polling place, you will get a paper ballot from the poll worker. You take it to the voting booth, and use a pen or pencil to mark a box next to your candidate and issue choices. You then drop the marked ballot into a sealed ballot box. At the end of the day, votes are counted by poll workers reading the ballots.

You can learn more about voting systems by checking out the Elections Assistance Commission's (EAC) resource or Verified Voting.

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