Mercer County To Pilot New Voting Machines in Princeton Referendum Election

New Voting Machines in Princeton Referendum Election

Mercer County Press Release:

Mercer County To Pilot New Voting Machines in Princeton Referendum Election

Mercer County Election Officials will be piloting new voting machines with a verifiable paper trail in one Princeton polling location on December 11th during the Princeton special school referendum election. The move by Mercer County Superintendent of Elections, Catherine DiCostanzo, Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello and Board of Elections Chairwoman Joanne Palmucci is part of a statewide effort to enhance voting security. The voting machines are on loan from Dominion Voting Systems, a State-certified voting machine manufacturer, at no cost to the County.

Princeton voters in Districts 1, 2,3,4 and 6 will vote at Johnson Park School on Rosedale Road, and will vote on the Dominion ICP voting machine. The technology allows a voter to fill out an oval marking the vote and then feed the voted ballot into a scanner. The paper ballot is then retained for verification. The bond referendum seeks $26,928,351 for improvements and related site work to all of the public schools in the district. The vote will be a simple yes or no to this question.

Mercer County election officials chose this Dominion machine from among several NJ State certified voting machines because it allows for a hand-marked paper ballot to be made by the voter. Voter advocacy groups have sought voting machines with a paper trail for many years.

The trial to use the machines is part of a statewide pilot program. By using State-certified voting machines, with a paper trail, the County will be eligible for a $100,000 state grant toward the purchase of new voting machines.Following this election, Mercer County officials will participate in an audit on the trial and provide feedback to the State of NJ Division of Elections.

Governor Murphy announced that the money will come from a $9.76 million grant, to upgrade some voting machines that have been criticized as vulnerable to hacking. 

Mercer County is only the fourth County to participate in this pilot program out of 21 NJ Counties. Three other Counties, Essex, Union and Gloucester, piloted State-certified voting machines in the 2018 November General Election.

The County is working with local officials to ensure that poll workers are prepared and trained to use the new system and Dominion will also provide on-site assistance on Princeton’s Election Day.


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