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Optical scan premieres in special election

By Tom Weber, KWMU.

St. Louis, MO. – The effort to get rid of punch card ballots in St. Louis City might have gotten a boost yesterday.

Optical scan ballots made their city debut during a special election.

The machines were borrowed to allow voters in the Fourth Ward pick a new alderman.

Elections director Gary Stoff says voters seemed to pick up on the new system easily, which he says boosts on-going talks to make a permanent switch.

"The new members of the board who were here yesterday, while they haven't made a definitive opinion, I think were real impressed with what this kind of system can do," Stoff said.

The machines also helped make it an even shorter night because totals were computed throughout the day.

And election results were known last night within an hour of the polls closing.

But the key is money.

Some money for new machines could come from Washington, but the rest would have to come from the city. And so far, no local money has been set aside for that.