Voters adapting to paper ballots
It seems residents adapted to Carbon’s new voting procedure with little trouble Tuesday.
“It was easy,” Cameron Kocher, a Lehighton resident who said he wasn’t aware the process had changed until he went to cast his vote at the Mahoning Valley Volunteer Fire Company, said.
“I don’t pay attention to politics too much, but I figured with all the stuff going on, it’s good to go out and vote,” he added.
The county’s election board decided in June to purchase new voting machines, pending approval from commissioners.
With that purchase also came a switch to paper ballots, which voters were instructed on Tuesday to fill out in marker and scan. The new practice is in line with Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2018 order requiring a paper record for votes cast.
There were complaints of bleeding markers that complicated the process of voting for write-ins, which some polling places, like the American Legion in Lehighton, alleviated by also offering black pens.
Besides a scanning machine that jammed for about 15 minutes, Harry Procina, judge of elections at the legion said, the process was going “very well.”
“We ran 118 through with no problem,” Procina said.
In Monroe County, the administrator of the new voting system differs, but the process mirrors Carbon’s.
Sara May-Silfee, director of elections, said early on, there were issues with getting the ballots properly scanned, but that goes along with the learning curve.
“It’s different, definitely,” May-Silfee said.
Lisa Dart, director of elections for Carbon County, said people had questions on starting up and being worried about needing to use sharpies. “Overall not a bad start,” she said.
The board hit its aim to have the machines in time for Tuesday’s election; it’s all in preparation for the big one set to take place one year from now, according to Commissioner William O’Gurek, who said the board wanted the new systems in place for the 2020 presidential election.
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