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BY JOSH MROZINSKI
“It will be pretty expensive for the county,” Commissioner Tony Litwin said.

He noted that people would have to be retrained if paper ballots were used.

During the May 2006 primary, the county trained 150 people to work 60 electronic voting machines, which were used for the first time, according to Marissa Crispell-Barber, director of voter education and voting machine administrator.

The county now has 85 electronic voting machines.

On Monday, Commissioner Judy Kraft Mead gave a letter dated July 19 from the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania to Carney, who held a town meeting at the county courthouse.

The letter states that the bill, “Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007,” may require most of the state’s counties to replace election equipment.

“Voters deserve every confidence in the accuracy of their votes,” Carney said. “This legislation sets aside money to ensure that state and local governments have the necessary funds for a smooth transition to a voter verified paper ballot.”

Carney noted that it is important that, “We have a paper record of ballots and that all votes are counted accurately.”

According to the text of H.R. 811, which was introduced by U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., in February, an “individual voter-verified paper ballot” could be “a paper ballot marked by the voter.”

The bill has 216 cosponsors.

Matthew Dennis, spokesman for Holt, said that states could choose whatever voting system they want as long as the bill’s principles of accessibility and audibility are met.

He noted that the bill, which could come to the House floor at anytime and would require random audits of ballots, provides $1 billion to the states for equipment upgrades.

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners awarded a project to remove debris from parts of four creeks in the county to D&G Goble of Noxen for $35,610.

The company offered the lower of two bids and the project is being funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Debris will be removed from Horton Creek in Nicholson Borough, Leonard Creek in Monroe Township, Sugar Hollow Creek in Eaton Township and Roaring Run in Noxen Township.

A FEMA-funded project to repair a bridge over Buttermilk Creek in Falls Township that was damaged by flooding in June 2006 was also awarded to Quality Engineering Solutions Tuesday.

The Conneaut Lake-based company offered the lower of two bids, $26,110.49.

Also Tuesday, the commissioners hired Mike St. Clair and Terry Anderson as 911 telecommunicator trainees.