Voting Machines - 2009

Connecticut voters now use optical scan voting equipment to cast their votes at the polls instead of mechanical lever machines. For voters who have difficulty marking a ballot, each poll also has an accessible voting system that permits voters with a variety of disabilities to vote without assistance.

Optical Scan System

With the optical scan system, voters mark paper ballots to indicate their choices; the ballots are read by an optical scan unit, which tabulates votes and drops ballots into a secure ballot box. When the polls close at 8 p.m, the unit provides a printed report showing how many votes each candidate received on the ballots read by the unit.

Each polling place has its own optical scan unit and ballots. After your name has been checked off the voting list, you will be given a paper ballot with ovals next to candidates' names. You take your ballot to a privacy booth, fill in the ovals for those candidates you wish to vote for, then go to the optical scan unit and insert your ballot. If you make a mistake or change your mind before inserting your ballot into the scanner, you can get another ballot from an election official after turning in your original ballot.

If you think you will have difficulty marking a ballot at the poll, you may have someone assist you in marking the ballot, or you may use the accessible voting system described in the following section. To learn more about the optical scan system, view the following information:

  • Optical Scan Pocket Guide in English or Spanish
  • Optical Scan Video (English)
  • Optical Scan Video (Spanish)

Accessible Voting System

With this system, called Inspire™ Vote-by-Phone (IVS), voters cast their ballots at the poll using a telephone and fax machine. A pollworker dials a special number to access the system and hands the phone to the voter. The voter listens to an audio ballot and uses the phone keypad to indicate which candidates he or she wishes to vote for. When finished, the voter hangs up, and a marked ballot is immediately faxed back to the poll. The voter deposits the ballot in the ballot box to be counted when the polls close at 8 p.m.

Beginning about two weeks before an election or primary, you can dial a number from your home phone to hear the ballot and practice using the system. Although you will not be voting and will not get a ballot faxed to you, you will have a chance to become familiar with how to use the system. For further information, call the Registrar's Office at 287-7081.

To learn more about the Vote-by-Phone system, view the following information:

  • Vote-by-Phone video (English)
  • Vote-by-Phone video (Spanish)

Public Demonstrations of the New Systems

The Hamden Registrars of Voters will hold public demonstrations of the optical scan voting system in the Fall of 2009, to help voters become familiar with the system and to answer questions about it. You may also register to vote or make changes to your registration at these times.

  • Saturday, October 17, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m, at Miller Library, 2901 Dixwell Avenue
  • Tuesday, October 27, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m, at Hamden Government Center, 2750 Dixwell Avenue