Pennsylvania needs to replace all of its voting systems by next year. If not, it will be the only state in the nation without voter verifiable paper system.
On Wednesday, Pennsylvania Acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar told senators in Harrisburg that there are 13 states with voting machines that can store votes electronically but cannot print ballot. Pennsylvania is one of these states.
“Almost all, if not every single one of those 13 states will be upgrading by 2020. So if we don’t, we will certainly be the only swing state, if not the only state, left in the country without a voter-verified paper trail. It’s not a position that I think any of us at the county, state or federal level want to be in,” said Boockvar during an Appropriations Committee hearing.
In addition, she noted that every expert and everybody agree on one thing—it is necessary to upgrade Pennsylvania’s voting machines to paper-record voting systems by 2020.
Her statement was in response to the question that Pennsylvania is forcing counties to spend significant of money to buy new voting machines. The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania estimated that the total cost to replace voting machines statewide is $150 million.
The Pennsylvania Department of State already certified several paper-record voting systems including:
- Dominion Voting Systems’ Democracy Suite 5.5-A
- Unisyn Voting Solutions OpenElect 2.0A2
- Unisyn Voting Solutions OpenElect 126.96.36.199A
- ES&S EVS 188.8.131.52.
Wolf proposed $75 million in funding for voting systems
In April last year, the department instructed all counties in the state to switch to voting systems with a paper record, which voters can verify. Its mandate comes after federal authorities confirmed that Pennsylvania is one of the 21 states targeted by Russian hackers during the 2016 presidential election.
Last month, Governor Tom Wolf proposed a total of $75 million in state funding for new voting systems. His proposal is a $15 million annually over the next five years. Wolf already committed $14.5 million in federal and state funding to counties for new voting systems.
Boockvar told state senators that county officials are pleased that the governor is proposing that the state will cover part of the cost of the department’s mandate.