The Dominion Voting Systems model approved by the Department of State is the latest approval as counties expected to replace digital-only voting machines in time for 2020 election. While the Department of State approved a fourth new voting machine — the one Montgomery County hopes to roll out at the polls in May — its final federal approval is tied up in the partial government shutdown. The machine, Dominion Voting Systems’ Democracy Suite 5.5-A model, creates paper copies of ballots and is part of the state’s push away from digital-only ballot machines. It is one of at least five similar machines expected to be approved this year as counties update voting system before the 2020 general election, according to a department news release. Bucks and Montgomery counties are among many jurisdictions using machines storing ballots entirely by digital memory, which former Acting Secretary of State Robert Torres said was less secure than machines that left a “paper trail.”
The Montgomery County Commissioners announced a $5.8 million contract with Dominion on Dec. 13, before the company’s machine received federal and state approval.
Montgomery County had set aside $8 million in 2019 to replace its 20-year-old machines with plans to roll out the new machines as early as the May primary. Officials choose Dominion from the three proposals they received.
While the machines now have state approval, Dominion still is waiting final approval from the U.S Election Assistance Commission, which has been delayed by the partial government shutdown that began over a month ago.