Counties across the state say they need a major upgrade to voting equipment to prevent system failures in the next election. They fear aging and potentially failing machines could get in the way of a successful electoral process. Officials say providing new machines for nearly the entire state would cost around $34 million. Some want to split the cost in the Governor’s budget over two years which could have the entire state up and running by the next major election. Current problems include the voting machine operating software. “The biggest one I think is they say that they run off Windows XP and that is no longer being supported by Microsoft,” said State Rep. Trevor Drown (R/Dover). “So there’s nothing that’s upgradeable in regards to the equipment.”
The price tag to fix the foul-up in the May municipal primary election is $17,332.98, Elections Director Marisa Crispell said after the Luzerne County Board of Elections meeting Wednesday. The problem erupted when a candidate for the Hazleton Area School Board – which encompasses parts of Luzerne, Carbon and Schuylkill counties – withdrew from the race. The Luzerne County Bureau of Elections did not notify the other two counties of the withdrawal, which led to the candidate receiving votes despite bowing out. After a pair of Luzerne County judges ruled the election needed a do-over, county officials initially estimated it would cost $2,300 if conducted by mail. Instead, the counties decided to conduct a complete and more expensive re-do by opening polling places.