Westmoreland gets $411K to put toward new voting machines

November 3, 2018 GMT

Westmoreland County received a nearly $411,000 state grant to help pay for new voting systems expected to be in place by the 2020 elections.

Officials will now have to find the remaining $7 million or more that may be needed to replace the touch-screen computers used for the last decade.

“We hope to have a decision by year’s end. We want to have it by in place as early as 2019,” Commissioner Gina Cerilli said Thursday.

A mandate issued earlier this year by Gov. Tom Wolf calls for counties to use voting systems able to generate a certifiable paper trial to track vote totals.

The more than 800 machines currently used in the county’s 305 voting precincts are not capable of generating paper receipts.

At the courthouse this summer, five companies conducted presentations of new equipment that meets the state mandate.

Elections Bureau Director Beth Lechman said several of the systems evaluated by the county will be used next month in jurisdictions around the country.

“We’re waiting to see the results after some of those machines are used. We’ll reach out to other states to get input,” Lechman said.

Commissioners said that after the evaluations of those systems are complete, they will negotiate to find the best deal.

“The demonstrations were successful. Now, we have some decisions to make. This is a significant purchase because the county will rely on these for the next decade or two,” said Commissioner Ted Kopas.