Pennsylvania Primary Election: Montco voters to use new paper ballot system

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (WPVI) -- Montgomery County voters who go to the polls next week for the primary election will notice something different. Instead of the familiar electronic push-button voting machines in use since 1996, there will be a new paper ballot system.

Once they sign in, voters will be given a paper ballot, a pen and a file folder to keep the ballot in. They will then move to a private booth and fill out the ballot by darkening small printed circles or bubbles, similar to those used in standardized tests. Voters are to mark the spot next to the name of the candidate they support.

Once finished, they will walk to a vote scanning machine that is about the size of an office photocopier. Voters will then run the ballot through the machine, and the votes will be counted.

The paper ballots are held in the scanner and will be stored by the county for two years.

Unlike the previous electronic machines, this new system creates a verifiable paper trail should there be a need for a recount in a close election.

Montgomery County's new system cost $5.8 million. It is the kind of system the state wants all counties to have by the 2020 general election.
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