Montgomery County, Pa., Settles on New Voting Machines

Commissioners selected Dominion Voting Systems to fulfill a $5.8 million contract to provide voting machines with a verifiable paper trail.

by Holly Herman, Reading Eagle / December 17, 2018

(TNS) — Montgomery County commissioners awarded a $5.8 million contract to Dominion Voting Systems of Denver, Colo., to provide a voter-marked paper balloting system with a verifiable paper trail.

Berks County officials are in the process of reviewing proposals for a new voting system, and Chester County has always used paper ballots.

The voting systems are being replaced in response to an order from acting Secretary of State Robert Torres in February that voting systems produce a paper trail to track the ballots cast in the voting booth. He set a deadline of Dec. 31, 2019.

Montgomery County hosted an open house in February at Montgomery County Community College's Blue Bell campus, where more than 300 residents were given an opportunity to test and provide feedback on voting systems and machines.

The new system will replace the current electronic push-button voting machines the county purchased in 1996, which were nearing the end of their useful life. The county plans to have the new system in place for the May primary election.

“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,” said Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, commissioners chairwoman. “I'm so pleased that we approved this new voting system today, which incorporates the suggestions we heard from voters.”

Voters will fill out a ballot in pen and have an opportunity to check it for accuracy before submitting it to a scanner that tabulates the votes, and keeps the ballot in a secure container for audits or recounts.

Each polling place also will have a touchscreen machine in compliance with the 1990 federal disabilities act.

When the voter is done filling out the ballot, the touchscreen machine will print out a paper ballot that the voter can verify before submitting it for tabulation.

Dominion CEO John Poulos said the election technology will suit the diverse needs of the county and its voters, particularly in an age where quality and security are paramount.

Commissioners plan to host an open house in the spring before the primary to allow the public to test the new machines.

The county also plans to provide training to poll workers to ensure the election runs smoothly, according to Commissioner Ken Lawrence Jr., who is also the chairman of the county Election Board.

Videos and other voter education materials will be available online at and will be made available at the offices of state legislators, municipal buildings and libraries as soon as they become available.

©2018 the Reading Eagle (Reading, Pa.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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