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New Voting Machines for MontCo in 2019
Written by Jennifer Frieze, Correspondent
2019-01-03

            The Montgomery County Commissioners approved a $5.8 million contract with Dominion Voting Systems of Denver, Colorado to furnish a new voter-marked paper balloting system that will provide a verifiable paper trail that can be audited to ensure votes are counted accurately.

            The new system is replacing the electronic push-button voting machines that the county purchased in 1996. The county intends to have the new voting machines in place for the May 2019 primary election.

            In most situations, voters will use a pen to fill out a ballot and be given the opportunity to check for accuracy before submitting it to be scanned. The scanners tabulate the votes and keep the ballot in a secure container for audits and records.

            In addition, each polling place will have an ADA touchscreen machine that can be used to select candidates. When a voter is finished selecting, the touchscreen machine will print out a paper ballot that the voter can verify before submitting for tabulation.

            In February 2018, Montgomery County held a Voting Machine Open House at Montgomery Community College's Blue Bell Campus. Approximately 300 residents were given the opportunity to view, test and share feedback on voting machines and systems.

            With the start of 2019, Montgomery County Voter Services will direct an extensive public outreach campaign and poll worker trainings to raise awareness about the new machines and how to use them.

            Outreach will include local press, social media, online videos and involvement with local community organizations. In a press release, Montgomery County Commission Vice Chair Ken Lawrence, who also chairs the county's Election Board, said, "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 the election goes as smoothly as possible."

            In early spring, before the primary election, the county will have at least one large open house in order for residents to try out the new voter-marked paper ballot and become familiar with it.

            John Corcoran, Director of Communications for Montgomery County, said, "The most beneficial aspect of the new system is that we will have a verifiable paper trail, which can be easily audited to be sure votes are being accurately counted."

            Voter educational materials and videos will be available online at www.montcopa.org/voterservices and will be provided to offices of state legislators, municipal buildings and libraries.


 

 

 

 

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