State College, PA – The Department of State is holding an expo of new voting systems in the Council Chambers of the State College Municipal Building to promote public awareness and understanding of these systems’ 21st-century features, including advanced security, accessibility and auditability. The expo will run from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday.
“This is an opportunity for people in central Pennsylvania, including county commissioners and election officials, to try the new voting technology with paper records that can be checked and verified by the voter, and to ask questions of the vendors,” said Jonathan Marks, commissioner of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation. “We want to ensure the public understands the benefits and improvements these systems offer.”
In April, Acting Secretary of State Robert Torres informed counties they must select new voting systems that provide a paper record by the end of 2019, and preferably have a system in place by the November 2019 general election or no later than the 2020 primary.
Because of increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other experts have urged states to replace older voting systems with new systems that produce paper records.
Most voting machines in use in Pennsylvania today are older than the first iPhone. Their software and hardware are aging and soon will no longer be supported.
The State College expo is one of five the department is planning across the state over the next several weeks. The others will be in Moosic, Carlisle, Doylestown and Erie. These events are a continuation of the department’s public education campaign to inform voters and local officials about the new voting systems and to allow them to test the systems’ features.
Vendors participating in the demonstration are Unisyn Voting Solutions, Dominion Voting Systems, Election Systems & Software (ES&S), Hart InterCivic and Clear Ballot Group.
Ultimately, counties will have their choice from among any of the voting systems that achieve certification from both the federal Election Assistance Commission and the Secretary of the Commonwealth. One of the systems to be displayed at the expo has already received both federal and state certification. Two of the other systems to be displayed have successfully completed testing and are in the process of certification reports and paperwork. The department expects another one or two systems to complete the certification process by the end of the year.
Pennsylvania received nearly $13.5 million from Congress’ appropriation of $380 million for election security under the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2018. The funding is being distributed under provisions of the Help America Vote Act of 2002. Each state’s allocation requires a 5-percent state match, bringing Pennsylvania’s total funding package to $14.15 million. The department is also pursuing additional state and federal funding for new voting systems from a variety of sources, including grants, appropriations, low-interest financing, leases, cost-sharing and other means.
MEDIA CONTACT: Wanda Murren, 717-783-1621