• Kyodo

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More than nine out of 10 voters in Niimi, Okayama Prefecture, which will use an electronic voting system for mayoral and assembly elections this weekend, said the system for casting ballots is easier to operate than they expected, according to a recent survey of select voters.

Results of the poll are based on responses by 868 voters who participated in training sessions organized by the city to familiarize residents with the system. Niimi, which on Sunday will become the first city to use the electronic voting system in Japan, has some 20,000 eligible voters.

A mere 3 percent said they mishandled the operation and had to redo it, and 2 percent said they had to ask staff how to operate the machine.

Voters will touch a screen with an electronic pen, ticking off their choices for mayor and members of the city assembly.

Asked if they think electronic voting is credible, 56 percent said they believe it is as credible as casting paper ballots, while 27 percent said they generally think it is credible.

But 16 percent expressed concern about various aspects of the new method, with 5 percent saying they fear someone could trace their selections.

The city’s election council conducted voting clinics to familiarize citizens with the new method between April 9 and last Friday. Some 12,000 people took part in mock voting sessions.

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