State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Dept. of State says no, you can't request a paper ballot on Election Day

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Nov 4, 2016 5:10 AM
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The Department of State has been working to reassure voters that there won't be widespread fraud on Election Day. (Photo by AP)

(Harrisburg) -- Election workers in Pennsylvania are being inundated with questions about voter fraud and poll security as Tuesday draws nearer.

Those are topics GOP nominee Donald Trump has raised again and again on the campaign trail.

But the Department of State has said the risk of voter fraud is largely being overblown in the media.

One of the questions that department spokeswoman Wanda Murren has been receiving frequently is whether voters can choose not to use electronic polling booths if they don't trust them.

She said no.

First off, the booths aren't connected to the internet and aren't in danger of being hacked -- and second, under normal circumstances, counties only provide one method of voting.

In most cases, that means voters will be using the machines, except in the 17 counties that choose to use paper ballots.

Emergency paper ballots are sometimes used, but only in extreme circumstances when half or more of the voting machines in a polling place are broken. Murren said she's never heard of that happening.

She said that she and her coworkers deal with these questions during every general election. After November 8 passes, however, people tend to lose interest quickly.

Murren noted that counties are largely responsible for paying for their own equipment. She said if lawmakers and the public think it needs upgrading, that commitment should last beyond the election cycle.

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