York County voters interface with new voting machines ahead of elections
Nikki Suchanic, the director of elections and voter registration in York County, hosts a voting machine demonstration at Paul Smith Library of Southern York County. William Kalina, 717-505-5449/@BillKalina
York County voters took their first stab at the county's new voting machines Monday during a demonstration at Paul Smith Library in Shrewsbury.
Nikki Suchanic, director of elections and voter registration for the county, brought one of the machines to the library to explain how to use it and to answer questions from voters.
"I'm just glad to see that the state of Pennsylvania is picking up where the federal government didn't," said Helen Derkac, of New Freedom.
Derkac said the new machines seem easy enough to use and that she won't miss the old push-pad electronic machines because "you were never sure what was happening with that," she said.
The county bought 360 machines — 180 for standard use and 180 that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act — for $1.4 million from Dominion Voting Systems.
The new voting machine mandate was part of a settlement agreement between the state and former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, who filed a lawsuit against Pennsylvania following the 2016 election alleging the state's voting system was not secure.
What to expect: When voters arrive at their polling place, they'll be given a paper ballot inside a manila folder with a black marker to fill out the ballot.
There will be privacy screens set up at tables for voters to mark the ballots.
Once the ballot is marked, the voters will feed the paper into the machine, which will scan the ballot and verify that it was counted.
The ADA-compliant machines will allow voters with visual impairment or difficulty marking the paper ballot to use a touch screen or a handheld controller to mark an electronic ballot.
The controllers are labelled with braille, and the machine has an audio feature so the voters can use headphones to listen to the choices and make their selections with the controller.
The ADA-compliant machine will then print a paper copy of the electronic ballot, which will be fed into the standard machine and retained for records, just like the hand-marked paper ballots.
The county will keep all ballots from the municipal election for 12 to 18 months so that they can be referenced in the case of an audit or a recount.
After the presidential election in 2020, the county will keep the ballots for two years.
"I think it's very funny that we're going back to paper," said Kas Jasinski, of Shrewsbury Township.
Jasinski said she won't miss the old machines and is excited about the new system, adding that her concern over election security has more to do with preventing noncitizens from unlawfully voting.
The Nov. 5 municipal election will be the first time the new machines are in use.
If you go: Suchanic will be available to answer questions and demonstrate the new machines from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16, at Dover Area Community Library, 3700 Davidsburg Road in Dover Township, and from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, at Jacobus Village Library, 35 N. Main St. in Jacobus.