Voters can try out new paper ballot machines

Demonstration slated Thursday

October 9, 2019 Cranberry Local News

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BUTLER TWP — County voters will be able to familiarize themselves this week with the new paper-ballot voting machines to be used in the November election.

Shari Brewer, county director of elections, announced Sept. 30 that voters can learn to operate the machines from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday in the Heaton Family Learning Commons at Butler County Community College.

Parking will be available in lot 6.

Demonstrations of the new voting system plus a chance to use them will be available to voters, Brewer said through a BC3 news release.

“We will let people vote on a demo ballot and put it in the scanner, so they will basically get the feel of exactly what they need to do,” she said.

Brewer said the event might compel those who are intimidated by new voting machines to cast their ballot.

“They are just not sure what to expect, and I think that sometimes prevents people from going,” Brewer said. “So this way, if they know what to expect when they go in, they won't be as intimidated by the whole process.”

The demonstrations also will provide an opportunity for the county bureau of elections to stress the importance of voting, Brewer said.

“We want to get the word out to everyone, and younger people are voters, too,” she said. “We want to attract the younger voter.”

Pennsylvania is one of 13 states that used direct-recording electronic voting machines, but moved to the paper-ballot scanner tabulator after a mandate from Harrisburg that all voting systems in the state must include a paper record that can be verified.

County commissioners initially expected to spend up to $8 million on a new voting system, but the certified system they chose from Election Systems and Software of Omaha, Neb., cost only $939,075.

The old electronic voting equipment was at the end of its expected life span anyway, the commissioners said.

There is no need to register for the demonstration at BC3, which is a walk-in event.

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Paula Grubbs

Paula Grubbs

Paula Grubbs is a Butler County native who has been with the Butler and Cranberry Eagle newspapers since June 2000. Grubbs has covered the Mars School District and Middlesex Township for over 20 years with the Eagle and her former employer, the Cranberry Journal. She also covers Adams Township, Evans City and Mars in addition to events and incidents throughout Southwestern Butler County as assigned. Grubbs has taken the lead at the Cranberry Eagle in reporting on shale gas development, which has been a hotly debated topic in the recent past, both locally and nationally. A 1979 graduate of Butler Senior High School and a 1994 graduate of Geneva College, Grubbs has won a Golden Quill and four Keystone state awards, plus an award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Grubbs enjoys following the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers, volunteers with the Connoquenessing Creek Cleanup each summer, and loves spending time outdoors and bird watching at her Penn Township home. Grubbs is the daughter of James R. Davis Sr., of Center Township, and the late Maxine Davis. She has two grown children, Jacqueline and Thomas.