Montco will debut new voting machines in next week's primary

It’s been a week since Pennsylvania’s primary election day, giving Montgomery County officials some time to digest feedback on the new paper-ballot voting machines.
Photo credit Jim Melwert/KYW Newsradio
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — When voters in Montgomery County head to the polls for next Tuesday’s primary election, they’ll cast their ballots on a new voting system. 

As in previous elections, when voters walk into a polling place they will sign the log book.

But this year, rather than stepping behind a curtain and pushing buttons on a machine, voters will fill in dots like on a standardized test form before feeding the sheet into a scanner. 

“You’ll be handed a paper ballot, a pen and a manila folder and you’ll be directed over to privacy screens to fill out your ballot," said Montgomery County spokesman John Corcoran.

Corcoran says each polling place will have six privacy screens and one scanning machine. 

He explains their previous machines were in use since 1996, so they were already planning a change and they chose a municipal primary election for the first run with the new system because it will be a low turnout.

The county expects this system will be quicker since there are six booths to fill out the sheet and it takes about 15 seconds to feed it into the machine.

“And if we find that there’s going to be any kind of delays this time, we’ll know we need to purchase more machines. It’s part of the contract - we can purchase more at the same price," Corcoran said. 

The filled out ballot is stored inside the scanner in case there’s a need for a recount. Write-ins are stored in a separate compartment in the machine.

There is also an ADA compliant system.  

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered all voting machines be replaced with state certified systems by next year’s primary.

Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Philadelphia counties are in the process of replacing their voting machines.  

For more information on Montgomery County’s new machines, click here