York County is purchasing 65 additional voting machines to add to the 180 the county already owns.
Commissioners voted Wednesday to purchase the machines from Dominion voting systems of Denver, Colorado at a price of $218,270. The cost covers the additional tabulators/scanners and ballot boxes, 4 ADA units with carts as well as additional firmware, software, warranties and licensing for all of the additional equipment.
"An order will be placed and they will be shipped in plenty of time to arrive before the (Presidential) primary," said Julie Wheeler, President of the York County Commissioners.
The additional paper ballot machines were ordered after complaints of long lines and a lack of privacy during the election in 2019.
Wheeler said the money for the additional scanners will come "from the general fund. But, there is matching money available up to 60% from the state."
Wheeler tells FOX43 the first purchase of hardware for the initial 180 voting machines totaled $1,437,915 as indicated in the attached quote provided for FOX43. But, that number was reached after a $46,875 credit for the county's previous machines and a “General Discount” of $666,960.
Wheeler said this new purchase of 65 machines will be for $218,270 after a discount of $117,530.
Wheeler added, in addition to the purchase of that equipment, the County will have annual costs for licensing and warranty totaling $165,110.
The 180 machines the county already owns plus the 65 the county will add makes the total cost for equipment $1,656,185. But, Wheeler notes, York County is eligible for $502,355 in the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has agreed to provide up to 60% funding which could potentially be another $993,711 in funding which would bring the net cost to $160,119.
The county said it reached the number of 65 additional machines after extensive time tests based on voter turnout numbers from past Presidential elections. A task force said those tests revealed a 'worst case scenario' of 31 seconds per ballot, revealing that each scanner could handle 1500 voters on election day. However, the task force said the addition of 65 scanners is a 'conservative approach' that will get the county through the primary. Following the primary, the task force advised the county it should determine from the data if more scanners are needed for future elections.
"If additional machines are needed there is also additional money available from the state. Certainly, as the Board of Commissioners it is our responsibility to be fiscally responsible with county dollars. So, all those things will be taken into consideration when we have the data to make that decision," said Wheeler.
Wheeler emphasized the goal is to make the election process run smoothly and efficiently. She also said she recognizes this is an area in which the county needs to improve, and the Commissioners will lead the charge.
"At the end of the day the proof is going to be in the pudding. Right? And, the voters are going to tell us if we addressed the issues that were brought forth last year and the beginning of this year," said Wheeler.
During Tuesday's special election race for the state's 48th Senatorial district, York County officials tested additional machines inside polling places. Commissioners also visited polling places to hear feedback from voters.
Learn more about how York County handled the special election here.