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First Glance at New Voting Machines

HARRISBURG, Pa.  — There will soon be changes to the way we cast our ballots. According to Pennsylvania’s Department of State, by the end of next ye...

HARRISBURG, Pa.  -- There will soon be changes to the way we cast our ballots. According to Pennsylvania's Department of State, by the end of next year, every county in the state must have voting machines that create a paper trail for each ballot cast.

Several vendors gathered at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg to show elected officials some possible options.

"This gives you the opportunity to look at everything while it's fresh in your mind. You can go back and forth, hey, I just saw something interesting over there, what do you have that matches it up," Bradford County Commissioner Ed Bustin said.

"We're just kind of seeing what's out there and trying to make up our minds and then we'll go from there," Monroe County Director of Elections Sara May-Silfee said.

Only one of these machines is currently certified for use in Pennsylvania, but vendors tell Newswatch 16 the rest should be certified soon. Most of these machines are currently used in other states.

"Virginia, Michigan, Washington, and Oregon," Lawrence Leach said.

Election officials got to see some of the new tablet-based voting systems, which election officials say will alleviate some of the problems that the old voting systems have.

Those problems include systems going out of calibration.

"When someone touches in an area they say well the vote went to someone else. That usually means the screen is out of calibration. With a tablet you're not going to have to worry about that," Jay Perbix said.

"It's a great step in the right direction and any time that we can move forward with technology and also supply the paper back-up I think that's a good thing," Luzerne County Director of Elections Marisa Crispell said.

"I think it was well worth the trip," Bustin said.

Pennsylvania will get nearly $14 million in federal money for the new voting machines. Pennsylvania wants every county to have new voting machines by the end of next year so they can be used for the 2020 presidential election.