WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)- The May primary election is fast approaching. Congressional seats are the big prize in the 2018 midterms.

Questions have been raised about the condition of some of the Commonwealth’s voting machines. Are they up to snuff?

The general consensus is, the voting machines can do the job but many of them are nearing the end of their life cycle. The big question is: where do counties, most of which are financially strapped, get the money to replace them?

“It’s a huge expense to the county, but when you’re talking about transparency, about elections, we got no choice,” said David Petri, Luzerne County Manager.

Pedri says they do not have the money to replace the county’s 850 electronic voting machines, a cost of around $3.7 million.

The director of the Bureau of Elections, Marisa Crispell, says while the machines are working, they are nearing the end of the line.

“We’ve been using this system since 2006. They haven’t even been updated since 2006. So we are looking forward to improving electronic voting and technology.”

Luzerne County isn’t alone in its quest to upgrade or even replace its voting machines. Schuylkill County’s 600 machines can get the job done but the clock is ticking.

“We’re still in good shape, however we’re at probably nearing the end of the usefulness life of these voting machines,” said Schuylkill County Commissioner Chairman George Halcovage.

The cost of replacing voting machines rests squarely on the shoulders of taxpayers.

“I hope the state comes through, I hope the federal authorities come through with some sort of grants to help counties to ensure that elections are always fair and impartial,” said Pedri.

And what about security? The allegations of hacking by the Russians has local election officials reassuring voters.

“Our systems are stand alone network,” said Crispell. “You need all the peripherals in place in order to access the Ivotronic.”

The Ivotronic is the name of the Luzerne County electronic voting machine.

Lackawanna County officials say their voting machines are in good shape and they do not foresee any immediate need to replace them.

Luzerne and Schuylkill County officials say they have been in touch with federal and state lawmakers to see what, if anything, can be done to push for funding to help pay for new machines.