MERCER COUNTY New voting system idea in planning

MERCER, Pa. -- Mercer County commissioners will soon name an election committee to help choose a new voting system for the county.
Commissioners Brian Beader and Michele Brooks indicated Tuesday at their chief clerk's meeting that they may take Elections Director Thomas Rookey's recommendation that the committee should consist of a representative from the Democratic and Republican parties, one from the Mercer County League of Women Voters, as well as Rookey and another person from the county elections office.
Commissioner Olivia Lazor did not attend Tuesday's meeting.
The committee will be named soon so members can start examining the available voting systems.
However, the county must wait until September to make a final decision because that is when the state will announce which voting systems meet the federal standards under the Help America Vote Act.
The two commissioners acknowledged there probably won't be enough time to implement a new system in time for the November election and said they may again be using paper ballots with an optical scan system as they did in the May primary election.
The state had agreed to pay the costs of renting the optical scanner and other related costs for the primary. But commissioners said they still have to negotiate with the state for reimbursement for using the optical scan system again the upcoming fall election as well as for reimbursement for the money it spent on the Unilect touch-screen voting system. That system was initially approved by the state, then later decertified, in effect disallowing use of the system in Pennsylvania.

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