The training is necessary because local voters have not used the new system.
MERCER, Pa. -- Members of the Mercer County League of Women Voters have volunteered to help familiarize county residents with the new type of ballots they will use in the May 17 primary.
Mercer County Election Director Thomas Rookey told County Commissioners on Thursday that the league will provide five or six members to be trained to go out and talk to community groups, demonstrate voting on an instructional ballot and discuss voting rules.
Rookey said he is scheduled to do two such community sessions and hopes that with the League's help there can be 12 to 15 sessions.
Training on the new system is important because Mercer County voters have never used the optical scan system before. Voters will be instructed to completely fill in an oval with a pencil but to avoid making any stray marks.
Board of elections meeting
County commissioners will meet in special session at 3 p.m. today in their capacity as the county board of elections. At the meeting, they will determine what will constitute a vote in the case of a challenge or recount. They will decide, for example, whether an "X" made over the oval will be accepted as a vote.
Rookey also will present Clarion County policies for optical scan voting for possible adoption. Clarion has used the system for several years and worked out the details, and Rookey is recommending commissioners simply adopt their policies.
After today's meeting, Rookey will have instructional brochures for poll workers printed.
Commissioners also gave official approval at Thursday's meeting to renting the optical scan equipment from Election Systems and Software Inc., Omaha, Nebraska for $82,000. The state has promised to reimburse the county for the cost because the state decertified the county's touch-screen voting system, making it necessary to find an alternative.