Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced that the state will start issuing bonds to provide $90 million in funding for counties to acquire new voting machines before the 2020 presidential election.
The action comes after Gov. Wolf vetoed the voting reform legislation that included the same amount of funding to help counties switch to voting machines with a paper record, which voters can verify. The Governor believes that the legislation, which also included a provision eliminating the straight party ballot voting option, would lead to confusion and delays at the polls.
On Tuesday, the Governor reiterated his commitment to ensuring that Pennsylvania has secure voting machines and maintaining the integrity of every election.
In a statement, Gov. Wolf said, “Pennsylvania counties are well on their way to replacing their voting systems and I applaud their tremendous commitment to protecting our elections. I remain committed to supporting their efforts and this funding will help the counties to complete that process.”
Pennsylvania Department of State is already disbursing fund for new voting machines
The Pennsylvania Economic Financing Authority (PEDFA) will issue bonds. The Department of State will make grants available to counties. In fact, the department already started disbursing $14.15 million, mostly federal funds.
Counties that implement new voting machines before the 2020 primary will receive their full share of all federal and state funds.
Kathi Cozzone, president of the County Commissioner Association of Pennsylvania, said, “There are few higher priorities for counties than the safe, accessible and secure administration of elections, and we are truly grateful for the support and assistance we will be receiving as we move to the next generation of voting systems.”
On the other hand, Douglas E. Hill, executive director of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, commented, “The provision of funding from the commonwealth, coupled with funds already received from the federal government, will significantly reduce the need for use of local property tax dollars.”
Last year, the Pennsylvania Department of State directed all counties to replace their voting machines. The department issued the directive after federal authorities confirmed that Russians hackers targeted 21 states including Pennsylvania during the 2016 presidential election.