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New Voting Machines on Display in Westmoreland County, Pa.

Westmoreland County voters now have a chance to see touch-screen computers that will be used to cast ballots next spring. Demonstrations of the new units will be held daily in the lobby of the county courthouse.

by Rich Cholodofsky, Tribune-Review / October 22, 2019
(Shutterstock)

(TNS) — Westmoreland County, Pa., voters this week have a chance to see new touch-screen computers that will be used to cast ballots next spring.

Demonstrations of the new units will be held daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Wednesday in the lobby at the downtown Greensburg courthouse.

County commissioners this month approved the $7.1 million purchase of the machines to meet a mandate from Gov. Tom Wolf for voting systems to be upgraded to have verifiable paper trails.

Elections Bureau Director Beth Lechman said the county bought 900 touch-screen voting systems that, starting in April 2020, will be used at 306 precincts around the county. Each precinct will receive the same number of voting machines currently used along with a digital scanner to tabulate each vote cast.

The new system, sold by Election Systems & Software of Omaha, Neb., are similar to the machines county voters have used since 2006.

Voters will insert a blank ballot and then make selections on the touch-screen computers. Once completed, the machines will print out a paper copy to verify that the votes cast on the machine are the same as what appears on the paper ballot, Lechman said.

“If it isn’t correct, they’ll give it to the poll worker and they’ll be issued a new ballot,” Lechman said.

Once a voter verifies the printed ballot is correct, they will manually insert the document in the scanner device.

Lechman said hard copies of each ballot will be retained and held by the county in case recounts are needed. Results from each scanner will be transported to the courthouse and counted on election night, she said.

The older machines, which cannot produce a paper version of votes cast, will be used for the last time in the Nov. 5 general election.

Lechman said the county’s 880 older touch-screen machines will begin to be moved next week to voting precincts.

©2019 Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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