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LAWRENCE COUNTY Electronic voting machines get tryout



Published: Sat, February 15, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



It is expected to cost about $1 million to switch to electronic voting.

By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Betty Scrim and Marg Del Castello marveled at how easy it was to vote.

Scrim and Del Castello of New Castle, both poll workers for the Lawrence County Election Board, were among the 300 people who checked out electronic voting machines at the Lawrence County Government Center on Tuesday.

The county is considering purchasing the machines for the 2004 elections.

"It's going to be a lot easier. So much easier for those with handicaps, too," Del Castello said of the electronic voting machines.

Scrim added that the elderly will also have an easier time because of the large print and touch-screen voting.

Lawrence County now has paper ballots that must be filled in with a special pencil.

Elections Director Marlene Gabriel said all who viewed the machines appeared to be in favor of the county's switching to electronic voting.

Gabriel said the county would have to buy the machines from UniLect of Dublin, Calif., the only company certified to sell touch-screen voting machines in Pennsylvania.

County election board members have said switching from paper ballots to touch-screen voting should pay for itself by eliminating paper costs and labor.

Election officials have noted that there are no longer replacement parts available for the county's machines that count the paper ballots.

The touch-screen machines and accompanying software is expected to cost about $1 million.

Gabriel was unsure when county commissioners would decide whether to buy the electronic voting machines.




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