Harrisburg, PA -- Acting Secretary of State Robert Torres and Chairman of the Susquehanna County Commissioners Alan Hall announced today that Susquehanna has become the first Pennsylvania county to purchase a voting system under the new standards for security, auditability and accessibility set by the Department of State earlier this year.
“Susquehanna County is leading the way in modernizing Pennsylvania’s voting systems. County residents can be assured they will be voting on the most secure and auditable equipment available,” Secretary Torres said.
“We wanted to be the first one, not the last,” Commissioner Hall said. “We will be ready for the November election with the new equipment.”
In April, Secretary Torres informed counties they must select new voting systems that provide a paper record and meet 21st-century standards of security, auditability and accessibility no later than Dec. 31, 2019, and preferably have a system in place by the November 2019 general election.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has called on all state and local election officials to make certain that by the 2020 presidential election every American votes on a ballot that can be checked and verified by the voter and that can be audited by election officials.
Susquehanna County has purchased the Unisyn Voting Solutions OpenElect optical scan system through the Ohio-based vendor ElectionIQ. The system is being delivered today and will be in use for the November 6 election. County staff and poll workers will begin training on it immediately.
“We had been talking over the last year or two about replacing our voting system. We got serious after the directive from the state in April and attended some vendor demonstrations. It will be great to have new equipment in place for the November election,” said county Elections and Voter Registration Director SarahRae Sisson.
The county has about 25,000 registered voters and 41 polling places where the ES&S 650 optical scan voting system has been in use since 2006.
Many other counties are already exploring their voting system options, examining machines and seeking public input as well as quotes from vendors. Most counties appear likely to implement new systems in 2019. Some counties, however, may choose to wait until the 2020 primary.
Any voting system selected by a county must be certified by both Pennsylvania and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The department and the EAC evaluate voting systems under current federal and state standards. In addition to Unisyn Voting Solutions OpenElect, which has already been certified, the department and the EAC expect during the next several months to certify an additional three to five new voting systems from which counties may choose.
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