Luzerne County Poll Workers To Test New Voting Machines
WILKES-BARRE — Luzerne County will test a proposed new voting system later this month, in hopes of having new voting machines in place for the November election.
County election workers will conduct a mock election on Jan. 22 using voting machines supplied by Clear Ballots, one of five prospective vendors for the new machines, according to county election director Marisa Crispell.
The demonstration will take place at the county courthouse, with county employees acting as mock voters, Crispell said at Wednesday’s meeting of the county board of elections.
Poll workers will get an up-close look at the machines first, then mock voters will cast ballots on the electronic screens, then the poll workers will close up and secure the machines as though it were a real election night, Crispell said.
The poll workers and mock voters will fill out surveys that could provide valuable feedback, she said.
The county plans to purchase new voting machines that provide a “paper trail” for added security, to comply with a state mandate.
State officials stipulated that counties put the machines into service by the 2020 primary, but Crispell said she hopes to have new machines in use for the November election this year.
“I don’t know anyone who wants to launch a new voting system in a presidential election year,” she said.
County election workers have already conducted mock elections using voting systems supplied by three other prospective vendors, Crispell said. The federal government shutdown could delay certification for the one system not yet tested, she said.
One of the prospective vendors is Election Systems & Software, or ES&S, which supplied the voting machines the county has used since 2006 and an electronic poll book system it purchased last year.
That company is at the center of a controversy that emerged last month, when media reports revealed that Crispell served on the ES&S advisory board in 2017 and traveled to meetings at the company’s expense.
She resigned from the advisory board before the county requested proposals for the poll book system from vendors, but did not inform county council of her ties to ES&S before council voted on the poll books last April.
No one at the election board meeting commented on the controversy.
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