Why Tuesday’s election didn’t feature touch screens

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - Voters in both St. Louis County and St. Louis City voted on Tuesday without the option of using a touch screen machine.

Gary Stoff, the Republican Director at the St. Louis Board of Elections says it was a matter of timing.

'There really wasn`t time between the March 15 election and this election to get the machines back and do all the reprogramming necessary,' Stoff said.

By state law, the first Tuesday after the first Monday in April is reserved for general municipal elections.

But at the urging of the National Republican Party, the Republican-led state legislature decided to move Missouri`s presidential primary from February to March, leaving only three weeks between elections this year, even though in large jurisdictions like St. Louis City and St. Louis County, it takes at least four weeks to reprogram all those touch screens.

'It would have taken more overtime and more staff than we have,' Stoff said.  'We would have had to hire people, train them very quickly and invest the additional overtime.'

While not having the touch screen option had some voters upset, others did not seem to mind.

'I think it`s great,' said city voter Scott Pohlman. 'I don`t like touch screen machines; I like to do it on a paper ballot and that way no one can mess with it.'

But city voter Jeanne Campbell prefers the speed of touch screen voting.

'I thought it was kind of strange, but we work with what we got,' she said.

Despite that three week squeeze, it turns out Kansas City succeeded in getting its touch screens reprogrammed in time for Tuesday`s election because it had a large supply of extra memory cards bought on the cheap several years ago from Cleveland when that city decided to dump its touch screen machines.

That gave the Kansas City Board of elections the ability to pre-program those extra cards with Tuesday`s ballot.