By all indications, Union and Snyder counties are off to a good start with their new voting and tabulation systems and now stand in an excellent position to handle the big presidential election set for next year.

Greg Katherman, Union County’s chief election coordinator and registrar, reported that the new digital machines, which also generate paper ballots as a backup verification source, were working well and there were no issues reported to his office.

The Union County polling places we visited on Tuesday were fully staffed with personnel who offered friendly assistance to voters, who were learning about a few different and additional steps in the voting process.

Pat Nace, director of the Snyder County Board of Elections also reported no problems. After the polls closed on Tuesday evening, we watched and gathered information as the Union and Snyder county unofficial results were posted online.

The election directors and their staffs in both counties — along with members of the League of Women Voters of the Lewisburg Area, who hosted a series of public voting system demonstrations prior to the election — should all be commended for the work involved in staging a successful launch.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf earlier this year mandated that all Pennsylvania counties upgrade their voting machines ahead of the 2020 presidential election.Amid national concerns about possible tampering with election systems, a verifiable paper record became the primary objective behind the governor’s order.

Just last week, the governor signed Act 77, which includes a number of substantial reforms to make it easier for people to vote, and also allocates $90 million to help counties pay for new paper-ballot voting machines ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Election officials in Northumberland and Montour counties are currently working through the options. As newly elected boards of commissioners settle into office in January, it would appear advisable for officials in Northumberland and Montour counties to move forward with acquisition of new voting systems prior to the primary election on April 28, so that any bugs can be worked out before what is shaping up to be a blockbuster presidential election on Nov. 3, 2020.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher and top newsroom executives. Today’s was written by Digital Editor Dave Hilliard.

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