Voters test new voting machines with paper records

Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — All of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties are required to use voting machines that produce a paper record of each vote by the 2020 election.

Gov. Tom Wolf set that mandate last year after concern about Pennsylvania’s voting systems was brought into question during the 2016 election.

Tuesday, voters and poll workers tested out six new machines in Dauphin County, which right now uses machines that do not produce that paper record.

“I looked at it and thought I’ll never be able to do this,” said Linglestown resident, Dorothy Lahr, who admits that 21st-century touchscreen technology isn’t her thing.

“I think a lot of people, older people that don’t know anything about computers may be put off by this.”

The new machines are coming and will be in all of Dauphin County’s 159 precincts by the 2020 primary.

“I think it’s really a bad decision to do this and to do this in a presidential primary,” county commissioner Jeff Haste said.

He calls it bad timing and believes the mandate is being rushed. Haste is also worried about the price tag of $5 million to $10 million.

​​​​​​​”We need help in funding it, otherwise it’s an unfunded mandate that goes back to our taxpayers,” he said.

“We’re gonna walk before we run here. We’re not gonna make any quick decisions,” Commissioner Mike Pries said. He said the county plans to pick a system before the end of this year.

Events like Tuesday’s at Susquehanna Township High School allow voters to test and rate systems in real time.

“Ultimately, we want to leave the majority of these decisions to the feedback of our voters and the people that work the polling places,” Commissioner George Hartwick said.

Poll worker Heidi Brooks, of West Hanover Township, wants a self-contained system that isn’t too touchscreen-based and one without multiple steps.

“Some require the voter handling paper and moving paper from one machine to another, which I think is cumbersome,” said Brooks.

Commissioners warn that any new system will be slower than their current one since the new machines will be producing that paper record of each vote.

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