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Westmoreland election machines function with barely a hitch

  By The Tribune-Review
Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Only a few glitches were reported Tuesday at the polls in Westmoreland County, the first election since computerized voting machines shut down and delayed voting in November.

Election Bureau Director Jim Montini said there were no major problems at the polls. At several precincts, poll workers had difficulties printing out zero tapes from the computerized voting machines. Technicians were dispatched to those locations to print the tapes, which verify that election computers had recorded no votes before the polls opened at 7 a.m.

Montini said those tapes could be printed at any time before the polls closed at 8 p.m.

One of the affected precincts was in Penn Township.

"I couldn't print a zero tape this morning but they say you can print it anytime until you close," said Joyfa Kelly, judge of elections for Penn Township's 2-1 precinct. "They say there's no problem."

In November, computer software problems led several of the touch-screen computerized voting machines to shut down prematurely. At least one precinct had to close for more than an hour while repairs were made. Some voters were turned away or had to wait long periods to vote because of the computer problems and the lack of paper ballots at precincts.

Yesterday, election officials stocked each precinct with paper ballots as a precaution.

Despite the problems in the fall, elections officials said all votes were properly counted. The touch-screen machines replaced the county's lever voting machines a year ago to meet requirements of federal law.


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