PLAINFIELD, NJ - A resolution for $1.9 million for a new vote tabulation system by ES&S was approved at the first Union County Freeholders mobile meeting on Thursday, held in Plainfield's municipal court.

Nicole DiRado, an administrator from the Office of the Board of Elections, said that although the machines will not be in use in most parts of the county until 2019, they will be used for the Nov. 6 election in Westfield; starting Friday, workers will begin training on the new machines.  A Facebook Live demonstration will be broadcast at an upcoming city council meeting in Westfield to teach residents how to use the macines, in addition to other PSA outreach.

Freeholder Angela Garretson asked why Westfield was picked for the Nov. 6 pilot.  DiRado said that the town has no local elections, ensuring an easier transition.

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Each machine costs around $8,250, according to DiRado, and the county is trading in more machines than they are buying.  The costs also incorporate maintenance, training, licensing, software and tabulation, in addition to the hardware.  The county hopes to buy 190 voting machines with the $1.9 million. 

Screens are approximately two inches wider than the current machines in use, and they are not connected to the Internet.  They require both state and federal certification. 

The voter verified paper audit trail is used to give the voter confidence that his or her vote is recorded in the expected manner.  It would also be used for recounts to ensure that the vote that is totaled electronically matches the paper. 

As a result of moving to the voter verified paper audit trail, the county would be statutorily obligated to participate in a risk limiting audit.

The next mobile Freeholders double meeting, consisting of both an agenda meeting and a regular meeting, will be held at Summit City Hall on Oct. 25, followed by one at Westfield Town Hall on Nov. 8.  The meetings start at 7 p.m.

MORE: Union County Freeholders Announce Mobile Meetings in Plainfield, Summit and Westfield over Next Two Months