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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

King Gets in Touch with Voters

Bucs QB Shaun King spends his Thursday evening helping to educate St. Petersburg voters on the county's new touch-screen system


Bucs QB Shaun King checks out the new touch-screen voting system being implemented by Pinellas County

Voters in Pinellas County will soon find it easier to stay in touch.

After the intense scrutiny brought on the Florida voting system by the last Presidential elections, the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office chose to pursue a new touch-screen voting system. On Thursday, the Elections Office promoted that new system with the help of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback and St. Petersburg native Shaun King.

Touch-screen voting machines, acquired from Sequoia Voting Systems of Oakland, California, have been showcased at over 500 separate locations since January 1 of this year. Pinellas County purchased the $14 million Sequoia system, which includes 3,800 of the new touch-screens, last December. The latest event to introduce the system was held at the Wildwood Recreation Center in St. Petersburg, and it was designed to encourage and educate citizens about the new voting process.

"I think voter education is the key to introducing any new voter system," said Deborah Clark, the Supervisor of Elections for Pinellas County. "We paid $14 million dollars for this system, but if the voters don't know how to use it, it's not worth a hoot. Our number one priority here is to make sure the voters know how to use it so that they're comfortable with it when they go to the polls."

As a constant flow of people tried out the new voting machines at Wildwood, King addressed the crowd on the importance of voting.

"It's very important for us to vote, especially if we want to improve our own communities and make them stronger," he said. "One of the easiest ways to do that is to have an impact on who is making the decisions that affect our communities. One of the best ways to do that is to vote."

Clark, impressed by King's passion for getting out the vote, hoped his enthusiasm would rub off on those in attendance. "In St. Petersburg, Shaun is a role model," said Clark. "He's someone that the younger people and the older people look up to. To get his endorsement adds a lot of credibility to what we are doing. And we really appreciate him being here."

Clark wasn't the only one that appreciated Shaun's attendance as he shook hands, posed for pictures, practiced voting and signed autographs for the assembled crowd.

"It's great to have a guy like Shaun King out here," said Malcolm Walker of St. Petersburg. "His involvement with this project should help encourage others to register and those that are registered to get out and learn the new system and vote."

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