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01/18/2019

Department of State Certifies Fourth New Voting System with Paper Trail and Advanced Security

Harrisburg, PA – A fourth voting system that provides a paper trail has been certified by the secretary of state. Another system is currently in the certification process, and testing of an additional system will begin later this month.

Acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar certified the Dominion Voting Systems' Democracy Suite 5.5-A on January 17. The Unisyn Voting Solutions OpenElect 1.3.0.2A, Unisyn Voting Solutions OpenElect 2.0A2 and ES&S EVS 6.0.2.1 systems were certified in 2018.

A system must meet both federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC) standards and the Department of State's updated security and accessibility standards to receive certification. Just before the current shutdown of the federal government began, the EAC issued a favorable Initial Decision on Certification to Dominion for this Democracy Suite system. The state certification allows procurement of the system by any Pennsylvania county.

"With the certification of this fourth system, we continue to give Pennsylvania county officials more options as they move to replace their voting systems," Secretary Boockvar said. "The counties have been exploring these options and finalizing their decisions, and are well on their way toward having all Pennsylvanians voting on the most secure, auditable and accessible systems available."

Nationwide, there is bipartisan and near universal agreement that, in the interest of security, Direct Recording Electronic voting machines (DREs), still in use in most Pennsylvania counties, should be replaced, and all voters should be voting on paper ballots they can verify. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Senate and House Intelligence Committees, and many experts are urging states to switch to new systems that produce paper records.

In April 2018, the department informed counties they have until the end of 2019 to select new voting systems that provide a paper record. The new systems are to be in use no later than the 2020 primary, and preferably by the November 2019 general election. Systems with paper trails allow for more accurate and reliable post-election audits. Counties will have their choice from among any of the voting systems that attain both federal and state certification.

Governor Wolf has committed to seeking state funding for at least half of the counties' cost for new voting systems. He will work with the General Assembly to develop specific proposals for state funding and financing.

The governor has already committed $14.15 million in federal and state funding to counties for the new voting systems.

Counties can use a statewide purchasing contract to cut through red tape and negotiate the best deal with voting system vendors. The department also is investigating and pursuing other funding options, including additional federal aid, low-interest financing, leases, cost-sharing and other means.

A regional new voting system expo, hosted by the department with exhibits by five vendors, will be held in Erie on January 29. Earlier expos were held in Harrisburg, State College, Moosic, Carlisle and Doylestown. The events are a continuation of the department's public education campaign to inform voters and local officials about new voting systems and to allow them to test the systems' features.

MEDIA CONTACT: Wanda Murren, 717-783-1621

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