Old voting machines hauled away

Denise Jones, contracted director of elections for Venango County, looks on as the county's 171 old voting machines are loaded on a truck Monday behind the Venango County Courthouse. The county is replacing its machines and is expected to have the new vote recorders in place for the November election. (By Richard Sayer)

Venango County’s 171 old voting machines were hauled away from the courthouse Monday.

In mid-March, the county commissioners, at the recommendation of the county election board, signed a contract with Election Systems & Services, of Omaha, Nebraska, to provide new voting machines.

The Department of State told counties last year that they must select new machines that provide a paper record, meet current standards of security and accessibility and can be audited more thoroughly than previous systems allowed.

The county first used the touch-screen electronic voting system in the 2006 primary election. It replaced the punch card system that required voters to poke a steel stylus through a dot next to their candidate of choice.

That system was beset with hanging chad problems and resulted in a national program to switch voting systems to an electronic method.

The punch card system was adopted in 1984 when the county abandoned its old paper fill-in-the-space ballots.