Elections & Voter Registration
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Frequently Asked Questions TSX

Question:

How does the voting process work on the new system?

 

Answer:

If you’ve ever used an ATM or even a microwave, you’ve used the same simple touch screen technology the new voting units employ.  When you arrive at the polls, you’ll check in just as before, signing a voters certificate, and showing ID.  Then, instead of receiving a punch card ballot, you’ll be handed a voter access card programmed with your ballot information.  This card unlocks the voting machine.  It contains no personal data about you or your vote.  Proceed to the first available unit.  Insert the voter card in the slot at the upper right side and push it in firmly until it clicks.  The first screen you’ll see is the Instructions Page.  Read these carefully, and then touch Start to begin voting.  The first page of the ballot is displayed.  To make your choice, simply touch the box next to the candidates or questions.  An “X” will appear next to your choice.  To change your choice, touch the box a second time.  The “X” will disappear.  Then make your new selection.

 

Question:

             How do I confirm my vote before I cast my ballot?

 

Answer:

One of the best features of the new touch screen system is that it will not permit you to make an accidental duplicate vote, or over vote.  After you have made all of your ballot selections you will see the Summary Page.  This screen lets you quickly review your ballot and see if you missed anything.  Offices that have not been voted are highlighted.  To make a change, touch the specific box or touch Review Ballot to move back through the previous screens.  Make sure you’re satisfied with all of your choices.  When you have no further changes, touch “cast ballot.”  Once you touch this button, you will see another screen, giving you a second chance to change your votes, or touch “cast ballot” where your vote will finally be recorded.  After you cast your ballot, the machine will automatically eject your card.  It is now blank.  If you try to re-insert it, the card will not work.  When you’re done voting, please return your card to a poll official.  The card will be reauthorized for another vote.

 

Question:

            Are the new voting units accurate and reliable?

 

Answer:

Voters can be assured of the accuracy and reliability of the new touch screen units.  Before being certified for use in Pennsylvania, these systems endured extensive testing of both hardware and software at a federal laboratory.  The state and counties also have conducted tests on each voting unit.  These units are freestanding.  Because they are not connected to the internet or any other computer network, they cannot be penetrated by computer hackers.  In the event of a power outage at the precinct, each unit can continue operating on battery power for several hours.  Your vote is stored in three separate locations to assure that no vote can ever be lost….even if the very unlikely event of an equipment failure.  The voting terminals are manufactured by Diebold, a world leader not only in voting equipment, but also in ATMs and other products that safeguard billions of dollars in financial transactions each year.

 

Question:

            Can I be assured of the secrecy of my vote?

 

Answer:

Although the technology has changed, your vote is just as secret and private as ever.  The voter access card you receive at the polls contains no personal information about you or your voting history.  In fact, it’s much like a hotel key card, which is reprogrammed for each hotel guest.  It simply unlocks the machine and loads the ballot appropriate for your address.  The votes you cast on the touch screen terminals cannot be traced back to you in any way.  Should the individual ballots from each machine need to be printed out, they are randomized so no vote can be associated with an individual voter.

 

 Question:

                How are votes recorded and reported?

 

Answer:

Your vote is recorded in three separate locations on the voting unit, assuring that no vote can ever be lost.  The touch screen terminals record choices in flash memory, assuring that votes remain secure even in the unlikely event of a sudden equipment failure.  The voting units use a form the Microsoft Windows operating system, the most widely used software in the world.  In additional to two on board locations, votes are stored on a removable computer memory card, much like those found in laptop computers.  After the polls close, a paper tape is printed showing the vote totals from each machine, and from all of the units in a individual precinct.  These tapes, along with the removable PC cards from each unit, are collected and transported to the county elections office.  There, the vote totals are compiled and the cards and tapes are kept in a secure location.

 

Question:

                Please describe features that benefit the blind, visually impaired, or those with other disabilities……

 

Answer:

For the first time ever, the blind and visually impaired can cast ballots independently on the new touch screen voting units.  To take advantage of this feature, a voter should inform the poll workers that they wish to make use of the audio ballot.  With the audio ballot, voters are supplied with headphones and a numeric keypad.  As candidates and questions are heard over the headphones, voters respond to prompts by touching the keypad.  A poll manager can fully explain these features.  For those who have only some visual impairment, a magnified visual ballot is also available.  Every one of Tioga County’s 43 precincts will have a voting terminal equipped with the audio ballot.  The new electronic system is a huge step forward in insuring that each and every voter can cast an independent ballot.

 

Question:

             How do I cast a write-in vote?

 

Answer:

Just as with older systems, the new electronic voting units allow voters to cast votes for write-in candidates.  To vote for a write-in, under the appropriate race touch the box marked Write-In.  A keyboard is then displayed on the screen.  Simply type in the name of the candidate.  When you are done, touch the box marked Record Write-In.  Your choice will then appear under the race. 

 

Question:

             Who has been selected to provide Tioga County’s electronic voting system?

 

Answer:

Diebold Election Systems, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Diebold, Incorporated and a leading manufacturer and installer of electronic voting systems.