New Voting System
The Montgomery County Commissioners have approved a contract with Dominion Voting Systems to provide a modern voter-marked paper balloting system with a verifiable paper trail that can be audited to ensure votes are being counted accurately.
The new system will replace the current electronic push-button voting machines the county purchased in 1996 which were nearing the end of their useful life. The County plans to have the new system in place for the May 2019 primary election.
“Voters will still be able to privately cast their ballot, just like the current system, and the simple paper ballot will give them the highest confidence that their votes will be accurately recorded and counted,” said Dr. Val Arkoosh, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “I’m so pleased that we approved this new voting system today which incorporates the suggestions we heard from voters.”
In most cases, voters will use a pen to fill out a ballot and have an opportunity to check it for accuracy before submitting it to scanner that tabulate the votes and keep the ballot in a secure container for audits or recounts.
Each polling place will also have an ADA touchscreen machine that can be used to select candidates. When the voter is done filling out the ballot, the touchscreen machine will print out a paper ballot that the voter can verify before submitting it for tabulation.
“We are very excited that Montgomery County officials have chosen Dominion Voting Systems as their partner for introducing the next generation of voting equipment,” said Dominion CEO John Poulos. “We are confident that our election technology will suit the diverse needs of the county and its voters, particularly in an age where quality and security are paramount.”
Montgomery County held a Voting Machine Open House in February at the Montgomery County Community College’s Blue Bell campus where over 300 residents were given an opportunity to view, test and provide feedback on voting systems and machines from a variety of vendors.
The county’s Request for Proposals for a new voting system was accessed by 14 vendors and three responded.
“Now that we’ve made our selection, we have to get to work training our poll workers and making sure the public has as many opportunities as possible to see the new system and become familiar with it so that election day goes as smoothly as possible,” said Commissioner Vice Chair Ken Lawrence, Jr., who also chairs the county’s Election Board.
Between now and the May 2019 primary election, Montgomery County Voter Services will conduct and extensive public outreach campaign and poll worker trainings to make sure the election goes as smoothly as possible.
There will be at least one large open house in early spring, well before the primary election, where members of the public will be able to try out the new voter-marked paper ballot system and become familiar with how it will work. There will also be other opportunities for the public to become familiar with the system scheduled at various times and locations throughout the county.
"As a County Commissioner and member of the Election Board, I look forward to helping the citizens of Montgomery County get acquainted and accustomed with the new voting machines so every voice can be heard in the primary and general election process," Commissioner Joe Gale said.
Videos and other voter education materials will be available online at www.montcopa.org/voterservices and will be made available at the offices of state legislators, municipal buildings and libraries as soon as they become available. You can also sign up for the Commissioners email list on our website at www.montcopa.org/commissioners, and “follow” MontcoPA on Facebook and Twitter