Centre County Primary Election Goes Smoothly With New Voting Machines

May 22, 2019

Centre County voters used a new system in the primary May 21, 2019. Voters fill in a paper ballot, then feed the ballot into the machine.
Credit Min Xian / WPSU

Centre County voters who cast a ballot Tuesday were using one of the new systems approved by the state. The county was one of nine in Pennsylvania to to use a new system in the primary, and the switch appeared to go smoothly.

“They’ll just feed it straight in to here, and then it will say: Thank you. Your vote has been cast,” explained Hayden Davidson, judge of elections in Harris Township East, Centre County. 

Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Michael Pipe said the transition from the old system to the new one appeared to be “seamless.”

One of the reasons might be that, unlike some counties, Centre County already had been using a similar system with paper ballots.

“It’s not an analog to digital. It’s already paper to paper. We’re good to go,” Pipe said.

One of Centre County's new ballot readers. The state is requiring counties to switch to one of the newly approved machines by spring 2020. They must include paper ballots that can be recounted.
Credit Min Xian / WPSU

The state is requiring counties to switch to one of the new systems that include paper trails by the 2020 primary. Pipe said the county decided to make the change in a primary before the presidential election.

“It’s going to really set us up well for future elections,” Pipe said.