New Voting Systems Fayette County PA

Update 4/9/19 –

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, GREENE COUNTY reports new voting machines for next month election (May 2019).

WESTMORELAND COUNTY reports anticipating using new machines this November 2019.

WASHINGTON COUNTY reports they are preparing to purchase soon.

Update: 4/5/19 – in response to inquiries on why counties must purchase new voting systems

Fayette County hasn’t even begun public demonstrations

Our Fayette County election director began urging us 3 commissioners, the budget consultant and budget staff since 2016 to get prepared financially. I agreed but I am one commissioner. I urged onsite demonstrations but the other 2 commissioners said they’ve viewed systems while at conferences. Well so did I but we still should hold demonstrations for the voters and get their input as well. Many others counties have done this already. So the best that I can now do since the other 2 commissioners are not on the election board since they are on the ballot is to get demonstrations scheduled in June then selection can be made and systems purchased. We are told that systems need to be purchased by December 31, 2019 but our county solicitor says systems just need to be “selected” by December 31.

Commissioner Vicites, after a commissioners meeting, said to me that if I was on the ballot I too would not want new machines and instead would want to wait to use the new system for the Presidential Primary. Anyone who knows me knows that not to be true because first I don’t make political decisions and second it only makes sense to have the new systems initially used before the Presidential election to allow for any issues to be resolved. Again, I am one commissioner.

 

The Hatch Act – think carefully before changing

PA senators revealed their election reform package yesterday in Harrisburg.    I welcome parts of the reform package and look forward to a conversation with this bi-partisan group.

I am glad these issues are receiving attention and hopeful that change will occur while maintaining the integrity of elections. I spoke with our county elections director on Monday. He said he was pleased that 4 years ago Sen Stefano, Ben Wren and Rep Warner met with him to discuss county election issues and welcomes another meeting to discuss current concerns.

I too welcome a conversation with the Senator and others to provide input from my prospective. As a county commissioner in Fayette County I serve on the county election board, voter registration commission and PA CCAP election reform committee. In reading various news articles, I agree thus far the reform measures except lifting the restriction of allowing certain government employees to work the polls (inside election day workers). The Hatch Act as it stands now prohibits such activity at some levels.

Yes, it is a challenge to get people to work inside the polls but rather than change the Hatch Act we should continue to look at other alternatives and should do a better job of reaching out to the public to get help on election day. Some say it is because of the low pay for the day while others say it is too stressful and too long of a day. We should be looking to engage younger people to work the polls and look at college & trade school students especially those studying in a related field.

I look forward to a conversation with the Senators on this important issue.