Site Map
Voting News
Contact Us
About Us

is NOT!
associated with

Decertified voting machines prompt option No. 2

BY CARA HOST    Observer-Reporter   12 April 2005

WAYNESBURG ? Voters in Greene County will use No. 2 pencils, not electronic machines, to candidates in the May 17 primary.

Last week, the Pennsylvania Department of State decertified UniLect Patriot voting machines that have been used in Greene, Beaver and Mercer counties. That determination outlawed the use of those machines for any election in the state and forced the affected counties to find alternative ways to count votes.

Leaders from each of the counties, as well as representatives from the Department of State, met in Beaver County Monday to discuss the situation. Pam Snyder, chairman of the Greene County commissioners, said the group seemed to reach a consensus.

"It looks like everyone's going to go with the optical scan. It's a paper ballot and basically, the voters will have to fill in the little ovals," she said.

Because of the tight timeline between now and the primary, a paper-based election method was the only system that could be established.

With the optical scan, forms will be counted by machine. Election workers will not have to count the votes by hand unless there is a call for a manual recount.

"It's going to be fine. These changes should not hinder voters in any way," Snyder said.

Greene County could have reverted to its old method. Before the county purchased about 95 UniLect Patriot Direct Recording Electronic Voting machines in 1998, local elections officials spent hours counting paper ballots by hand. The electronic machines were supposed to streamline the process.

The county will obtain the necessary equipment for the optical scan and probably use that system for at least the next two elections, the May primary and the general election in November, Snyder said.

The Department of State will reimburse the county for any costs incurred because of the change in election methods. If the county chooses to purchase an electronic voting system again, those costs may be covered through the federal Help America Vote Act.

The state decertified the UniLect Patriot Direct Recording Electronic Voting System because it froze and malfunctioned during testing on Feb. 15. The state believes that glitch may explain why there were so many undervotes in the counties that used the machines in the presidential election.

Undervotes occur when a voter fails to cast a ballot for a certain office. The statewide average of undervoting is 1.49 percent. But, according to a Grove City College study, the undervote rate in Greene was 4.5 percent.

The UniLect Patriot system is certified for use in 14 states.

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!