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Chad Vader embraces laser ballot readers that will be used Tuesday in Dane County

Chad Vader embraces laser ballot readers that will be used Tuesday in Dane County

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Chad Vader votes

Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell, right, shows Madison-based Internet video character Chad Vader how to operate the county's new ballot scanner in a clip posted on the county's website. Blame Society Productions created the character featured on YouTube and Hulu web services.

With the reluctant blessing of Darth Vader’s younger brother, Dane County voters will fill in ovals instead of arrows Tuesday, and they’ll feed completed ballots into an interactive scanner.

The system was in place for the February primary election, but this will be its countywide debut, said county clerk Scott McDonell. The county and its municipalities purchased 182 of the scanners and related equipment for about $1 million, he said.

To spread the word, McDonell helped Internet video character Chad Vader try the system in a light-hearted video by Madison’s Blame Society Productions. In the clip, the black-helmeted Chad Vader at first is skeptical of the system.

“Think of the arrows as X-wing fighters, and the ovals as Death Stars orbiting a rebel moon,” McDonell tells him.

Later, Vader warms to the system .

On Tuesday, when voters feed completed ballots into the scanners, they will be alerted if there is any problem, McDonell said. The machines catch errors, such as voting for two candidates in the same race. The system also provides new security features, he said.

— Steven Verburg

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Steven Verburg is a reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal covering state politics with a focus on science and the environment as well as military and veterans issues.

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