Uniontown, PA – For the next three months, Fayette County Election Bureau officials will be hard at work preparing for their first Election Day with the county’s new voting system.
Representatives from the Denver, Colo.-based Dominion Voting Systems met with election employees and Fayette County commissioners Wednesday afternoon to kick off the county’s latest venture.
Founded in 2002 in Toronto, Canada, Dominion Voting Systems sells electronic voting hardware and software, including voting machines and tabulators, to municipalities and other organizations across North America. As of September 2019, Dominion voting machines are used in more than 2,000 jurisdictions in 33 states and Puerto Rico.
Last year, commissioners voted to replace the county’s existing voting systems with Dominion, following issues with what Election Bureau Director Larry Blosser called “overvoting.”
“Some cross-filed candidates would appear on the ballot twice, leading to more votes than were possible,” Blosser said. “Some voters could take the time to correct the ballots, but others wouldn’t worry about the alert and left them as is, which created a problem for us on the back end.”
The county previously used Hart Intercivic voting systems for 13 years, and Blosser said he hopes Fayette will receive a “better quality of service” from Dominion. DREs, or direct-recording electronic voting machines, will also be replaced.
“The voters should realize that this is a paper-based system with paper ballots, which will eliminate those problems we saw in the past,” he said. “Moving forward, we’ll only have one DRE voting system at each precinct for people with disabilities.”
Dominion Senior Manager Jason Frank said parts of the new system will be delivered next week, and the outdated hardware will be put through the state’s official decommissioning process.
“You’ll receive a certificate of destruction, and they’ll recycle most of the plastic and other parts they can salvage,” Frank said. “There’s a whole process, so nothing ends up in a landfill and all the data will be destroyed.”
Frank will work with Pennsylvania’s Customer Relations Manager Frank Dutton, who will serve as Fayette County’s project manager, to implement the new system and teach election officials how to use it.
“You all know what kinds of problems you’ve had in previous elections, and those should be eliminated. We’re going to work with you on something we call ‘train the trainer,’” Frank told meeting attendees. “We teach you guys how to do everything so you can then go and teach all your poll workers.”
Part of that training will include working with example ballots in a mock election, which election bureau employees will build from the ground up.
“We’re super excited to be able to come down here and work with you guys,” Frank said. “I’m really looking forward to demonstrating how everything works and getting hands-on. We’re excited to show you what we’re made of.”
Blosser said the county is on a strict deadline to have the new system in place, as Pennsylvania’s Presidential Primary Election is April 28.
“We’ve got a big job to do and it’s complicated,” Blosser said. “I hope the voters will be patient with us while we work out the bugs in the system so we can offer them something better than we had before.”
For more information on Dominion Voting Systems, visit http://www.dominionvoting.com. For more information on the Fayette County Election Bureau, visit http://www.fayettecountypa.org/230/Election-Bureau.
To learn more about Fayette County, visit http://www.FayetteCountyPA.org.