Johnson County election officials busy preparing for primary, looking for poll volunteers

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. -- New voting machines are ready to go in Johnson County, just in time for the August Primary election.

County election officials are testing more than 1,000 new machines that will be used for the first time next month. The new technology allows for a more accurate count by allowing voters to print out a ballot to double check their vote is correct before submitting it.

“We have significant improvement in the technology available to us. They’re also different in their design in that they have a voter-verifiable paper trail, which means we will be able to go back and recreate and recount every vote,” said Ronnie Metsker, Johnson County election commissioner.

Each machine has a built-in tabulation device, which means election officials will have better access to real time results and updates. They replace voting machines that have been in use since 2002.

“That’s our goal, is to give regular and frequent output of the standards of how is our voting going as we tabulate throughout the evening we intend to give more results,” Metsker said.

Although Johnson County has great new technology at the polls, it’s still in need of a lot more volunteers to staff polling places on Election Day.

“We have about 1,200 volunteer election judges right now. We need about 1,500 to run this election,” Metsker explained.

To sign up, you have to be a registered voter who is 18 or older and has the ability work for 12 hours straight. Volunteers even get paid $110 per day, or $135 per day if you’re a supervisor, plus an extra $25 for training.

“Everyone is trained for every position from the greeter position to the poll pad judge to the machine attendant, to the person who passes out the ‘I Voted’ stickers,” Metsker said.

“We need lots of help on election day,” Al Sneller said.

He's a long-time poll volunteer who said it’s a job that pays in more ways than one.

“The satisfaction that you derive from doing that job,” Sneller said.

“It sounded like an interesting thing to do and I could help serve my community and my country,” he added.

Next week, Johnson County voters will have the opportunity to see and use the county’s new voting equipment ahead of its debut in the upcoming primary election. Voters will be able to cast a practice vote on the new voting equipment and learn more about its features.

The voting equipment will be available July 9-10 and July 12-13 at the locations listed below:

Monday, July 9 and Tuesday, July 10

9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center

8788 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park

Thursday, July 12 and Friday, July 13

9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Johnson County Northeast Offices

6000 Lamar, Mission

Friday, July 20 and Saturday, July 21

8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

K-State Olathe Innovation Campus

22201 W. Innovation Drive, Olathe