Site Map
Voting News
Contact Us
About Us

is NOT!
associated with

Bradford County Commissioners approve new electronic voting machines


By: James Loewenstein


TOWANDA - By 2006, all voters in Bradford County will use touch-screen electronic voting machines.

The county will purchase touch-screen voting machines for all polling places in the county, Bradford County Commissioner Nancy Schrader announced Thursday at the commissioners' meeting.
The voting machines will replace the current system of using paper ballots, Schrader said.
"We will no longer have paper ballots" in Bradford County, she said.
The state has allocated $488,000 to Bradford County to purchase voting machines that are compliant with the federal Help America Voting Act of 2002, said Janet Lewis, county commissioner.
The state allocation is large enough to pay for all the touch-screen voting machines needed in Bradford County, Lewis said.
The touch-screen voting machines that the commissioners have looked at "are very easy to use," Lewis said.
The commissioners said that the touch-screen machines they have looked at can generate a "paper audit trail."
To meet the requirements of Help America Voting Act (HAVA), the touch-screen machines will need to be able to produce an official paper record that would be needed in case there were a recount, Bradford County Elections Director Donna Roof explained.
"I think this (touch-screen voting) will be a really good thing," County Commissioner Doug McLinko said.
Under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), the county does not need to start using the touch-screen machines until 2006, Lewis said. She said the first election where the touch-screen voting machines will be used will probably be the Primary Election in 2006.
Currently, all voters in Bradford County use paper ballots which are read by an optical scanner.
However, under HAVA, the county will need to purchase a handicapped-accessible voting machine - such as a touch-screen machine - for each polling place, Lewis said.
To avoid the confusion of having two different voting systems - paper ballots and voting machines - the county commissioners have decided that all voters will use a touch-screen voting machine, Lewis said.
If the county commissioners had decided to keep using paper ballots, HAVA would have required that the county purchase tabulation machines for each precinct, which would have been an added expense to the county, she said.
Another important advantage of touch-screen machines is that they prevent "over-votes," Lewis said.
Over-votes "have been a big problem in Bradford County" and have likely shifted elections at times to the wrong candidate, she said.
The current paper ballot system is susceptible to over-votes, which occur when voters vote for more candidates they are allowed to vote for, Lewis explained.
While the instructions on the paper ballot will say "vote for not more than two candidates" or "vote for not more than one candidate," voters often skim over the instructions and vote for more candidates than they are allowed to vote for, she explained.
The optical scanner currently in use does not accept such an over-vote, so the citizen's vote is lost, the commissioners said.
However, if a voter votes for too many candidates using a touch-screen machine, the machine will not accept the vote and will inform the voter that he needs to re-do his vote, Lewis said.
Lewis said there will be demonstrations to the public on how to use the touch-screen machines.
Bradford County voters will have opportunities to try out the machines before they are used in a real election, she said.
On Thursday, the commissioners voted to submit a plan to the Pennsylvania Department of State, which outlines how the county will comply with HAVA. Under HAVA, the county was required to prepare the plan and submit it to the state, county officials said.
"There are a lot of other things we intend to do" to comply with HAVA, such as voter education and making voting in the county more handicapped-accessible, Schrader said.
The commissioners said they have not decided which touch-screen machines they will purchase.
The machines need to be certified as acceptable under HAVA, and no touch-screen machine has yet received that certification, Roof said.
However, Roof said she expects such certification to be granted to a number of touch-screen machines.

Previous Page

Election Problem Log image
2004 to 2009


Accessibility Issues
Accessibility Issues

Cost Comparisons
Cost Comparisons

Flyers & Handouts

VotersUnite News Exclusives

Search by

Copyright © 2004-2010 VotersUnite!