By Philip Sean Curran
Mercer County election officials lauded the performance of two voting machines that they tested out during the school bond referendum election in Princeton on Dec. 11.
There were 653 voters in five districts at Johnson Park Elementary School who used the optical scan voting machines, the county reported. They had to mark an oval on a paper ballot, either yes or no in this case, and then fed it into the scanner.
“We got very positive feedback,” said Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami-Covello on Dec. 14.
She said technicians from the company, Dominion Voting Systems, the company that make the machines, were “on hand” the entire day in case there were any problems.
“But we really did not have any problems,” she said.
“We were pleased with how quick and easy the machines were to use and that the voter seemed to like them also,” said Mercer County Superintendent of Elections Catherine DiCostanzo on Dec. 14.
“The voters loved the machine,” said Joanne Palmucci, chairwoman of the Mercer County Board of Elections, also on Dec. 14.
Mercer and three other counties have participated this year in a PILOT program by the Murphy administration to use state-certified machines that have a paper trail, in a move to make voting more secure. Essex, Union and Gloucester counties took part during the election in November, the county has said.
The county has to report back to the state Division of Elections, in the Secretary of State’s Office, on how the experience went. Also, the county will get $100,000 for participating to buy new voting machines, Sollami-Covello said.
The test occurred when Princeton voters approved a $26.9 million referendum that the school district had proposed to pay for a series of facilities projects at all six of its schools.