Centre County’s new voting machines get good grades

CHRIS MORELLI/THE EXPRESS Centre County Director of Elections and Voter Registration Joyce McKinley (foreground) said that the new voting machines worked “exceptionally well” on Tuesday.

BELLEFONTE — Centre County rolled out its new election machines on primary Election Day.

The machines were used in all 91 county precincts on Tuesday. Things went off without a hitch, according to Joyce McKinley, Director of Elections and Voter Registration.

“It went exceptionally well,” McKinley said. “Even with new equipment, the staff was excellent and the election boards were really motivated and excited about it.”

McKinley said there were a few minor glitches, but those things happen during every election and are nothing out of the ordinary.

“You always have minor glitches, whether you have new equipment or old equipment. Whether it’s new or 10 years old, there’s always small stuff. Nothing major,” McKinley said.

The total cost of the 200 new machines was $1,192,571.75. That included $860,571.75 for the equipment and $332,000 for a five-year hardware and software maintenance agreement, as well as set-up and training. The machines were purchased from ES&S — Elections Systems and Software.

The change in voting machines was necessitated last year. At the time, the Pennsylvania Department of State, on recommendation from the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, required that existing voting machines across the state be replaced by the end of 2019.

The new voting systems are required to be paper-based and not connected to the internet.

As election results rolled into the county’s Willowbank Building on Tuesday night, McKinley said that things were going very well.

“It’s going very well. We’re all very happy and excited,” McKinley.

Centre County is just one of nine counties throughout the state that has begun using its new machines.

“Joyce has done a great job getting Centre County ahead and working us through this process with the new machines. She’s done a terrific job,” said Centre County administrator Margaret Gray.

McKinley said that it has truly been a team effort.

“I’ve had a lot of support,” McKinley said.

Centre County previously used two systems, the M100 and AutoMARK. Those systems were built in 1995 but refurbished and purchased by the county in 2008.

The system used on Tuesday is the DS200 tabulator and scanner and ExpressVote touch-screen system.