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The advantages of paper ballots

Your recent editorial identified increased voter confidence as the reason for the change to optically scanned ballots ("Back to the future on voting," Dec. 21).

I welcome them for a more practical reason: They make voting much faster than the touch-screen machines by eliminating the time spent in line waiting for an available machine.

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When Anne Arundel County had optically scanned paper ballots, I could wait in one line to get my ballot and vote immediately — sitting at a school cafeteria table, on the floor or leaning against the wall. There was never a line to insert the ballot in a tabulation machine. I was in and out in minutes.

By contrast, in the elections where the machines were used the waiting lines waiting for an available machine were terrible. I waited 50 minutes for a machine and saw people get angry and leave.

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A significant percentage of machines were encumbered by people who either could not decide what to do, could not operate the machine and would not ask for help, or who were sitting at machines as poll workers walked them through the process.

Optically scanned paper ballots will eliminate the delays created by the touch screen machines and encourage more people to vote.

Anita Heygster, Pasadena

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