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New Voting Machines in Wyoming County

TUNKHANNOCK, Pa. -- With Election Day just one week away, election offices in counties all across Pennsylvania are getting ready. That process is a little different this year for Wyoming County.

Beginning in 2020, all counties in Pennsylvania will be required to have a new type of voting system that provides a paper copy and a digital copy of each ballot. Election officials in Wyoming County say next week will be the first time voters will use the new machines.

When voting machines went digital years ago in Wyoming County, that meant touch screen computers and no hard copy of the actual ballot.

"Wyoming County has new voting machines. We'll see the paper ballots returned, which means we'll have the paper trail, plus the digital way of counting so I can see all positive things coming from this," said Wyoming County Commissioner Michael Stabinsky.

But soon, every county in Pennsylvania will be required to have systems like these.

"I now have a backup," said election director Florence Kellett. "Before, I had a print out of the vote that was cast, but it wasn't the actual ballot."

On Election Day next week, voters in Wyoming County will get a paper ballot to fill out. They will then have to put it through a machine, which will take a screenshot image. The paper ballot will then print back out, so there will be two copies of each ballot.

It cost the county more than $400,000 to purchase the new equipment for all 28 precincts in Wyoming County. Election officials say they hope Governor Wolf signs a bill that would provide funding for the new voting system.

"It's in there for $90 million to help the state, the counties in the state, pay for their voting systems. We're hoping to get 50 to 60 percent of our money back," Kellett said.

Election officials and poll workers say they've been trained on the new system and are ready for next week.

"It was a good experience. I don't think we'll have a lot of difficulties. I think will people will find it's a very easy system to use," said Phy'lis Leslie, Lemon Township judge of elections.

Election officials say there will be one machine at each of the more than 20 polling locations in Wyoming County. There will also be an ADA approved version at each location for voters with disabilities.

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