December 14, 2018
The Montgomery County Commissioners approved a $5.8 million contract with a Colorado company on Thursday for new, voter-marked paper balloting voting machines which should be in place for the May 2019 primary election.
The new system will replace push-button machines that the county purchased in 1996, which the county said were nearly at the end of their useful lives.
“Voters will still be able to privately cast their ballot, just like the current system, and the simple paper ballot will give them the highest confidence that their votes will be accurately recorded and counted,” Dr. Val Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, said in a statement Friday.
The new system, according to state Rep. Steve McCarter, will have voters use pens to fill out ballots, which will then be submitted to scanners to tabulate votes and keep ballots in secure containers in case of recounts. The machine will then print out a paper ballot that the voter can verify before submitting it to a scanner for tabulation.
Each polling place will also have an ADA touchscreen machine.
“I cannot overemphasize how important this new system is,” McCarter said in a statement Friday. “In recent years, we have seen just how fragile our electoral process can be. At every level, in every way, we need to do everything we can to assure that our process serves the people.”
In April, Secretary of State Robert Torres informed Pennsylvania counties they would need voter-verifiable paper record voting systems by the end of 2019.
In September, a preliminary report from a Blue Ribbon Commission on the state’s election security determined the state’s elections were at risk because of outdated, vulnerable voting machines.