New voting technology test underway in Fulton

FULTON, Wis. (WMTV)-- A first-of-its-kind voting technology that allows voters to verify if their ballot was counted is getting a test drive right here in Wisconsin.

Nearly 400 voters walked through Fulton Village Hall to cast their votes using a new technology

"It's a new experience that we got to kind of get used to," Amanda Sanders, Edgerton Resident said.

It's a partnership effort among the Wisconsin Elections Commission, VotingWorks and Microsoft. The group chose the Town of Fulton to test the software out of the entire country, citing the size and the willingness of the Rock County Clerk to participate.

"We are hand counting the ballots for the election results. We wanted a place that wasn't too big so we weren't counting all night, but was also big enough to give a good sample size," Reid Magney, Wisconsin Elections Commission Public Information Officer said.

It's called ElectionGuard developed by Microsoft.

Here's how it works. Voters insert their ballot card on an electronic system. They choose the candidates they want to vote for and the receipt comes at the end. When voters are done, they receive a yellow sheet with a QR code on it. Voters scan the code, and it takes them to a link that shows the vote was counted.

"It was nice, pretty smooth and pretty quick," Susan Vanden Noven, Edgerton Resident said.

"I didn't particularly care for it," Gerald Reese Jr., Fulton Resident said.

Some voter said the old-fashioned pen and paper is the safe and secure way to go.

"I mean that's completely hackable. Sooner or later it's going to be on the internet or connected to the internet." Reese Jr. said.

But Microsoft said the encryption is so secure chances of hacking are slim.

Organizers said the goal of testing the technology is to see if it works and if it makes voters more confident that their ballot counts.

"Do they trust it? Does it increase their trust in elections? This is what we're most interested in,” Magney said.

This is just a pilot program. Organizers said there are many steps that follow before this could be implemented statewide.