Indiana, PA — Acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar presented the Indiana County Commissioners with an $84,792 check today, on her first post-primary visit to a county that has already deployed its new voting system.
The check is part of $14.15 million in federal funding and a state match that Gov. Tom Wolf earmarked for distribution to counties, on a proportional basis, for new voting systems. The governor also is seeking to provide counties with at least $75 million more in state funding over five years, to cover at least half the cost of new voting systems, and is urging the General Assembly to supply this key support.
"I am very pleased to present this check to the commissioners for the new voting system that Indiana County voters used for the first time in the May 21 primary election," Secretary Boockvar said. "The commissioners delivered to county residents a state-of-the-art system ahead of schedule. Along with that system comes increased security, accessibility, and the assurance that each vote will be accurately recorded and counted."
The commissioners and county election officials gave Secretary Boockvar a demonstration of their new ES&S EVS 126.96.36.199 voting system and reported that it performed well during its debut last week.
Indiana County is among nine counties that showed remarkable leadership in providing new systems to their voters a year ahead of time, well in advance of the Department of State's mandate that all counties select new voting systems that provide a paper record by the end of 2019 and implement them no later than the 2020 primary. New systems with a paper record allow for more accurate and reliable post-election audits and include enhanced security and accessibility features.
At least 31 counties, or more than 46 percent, have taken official action toward purchases or leases of new voting systems.
"We were extremely pleased with the efficiency and effectiveness of all aspects of the voting process last week, and that was largely a result of the newly acquired voting machines. For example, the updated program to secure write-in ballots in tabulated form expedited the administrative closing process of the precincts. This feature received many favorable remarks from our poll supervisors," said Rodney Ruddock, Vice Chairman of the Indiana County Commissioners. "We are well prepared to move forward into the general election with great confidence in our support team and new voting machines."
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.
The Trump Administration's Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Senate and House Intelligence Committees, and the overwhelming majority of security, technology, and elections experts are urging states, in the interest of election security, to switch to new systems that produce paper records.
In Pennsylvania, every voting system and paper ballot must include plain text that voters can read to verify their choices before casting their ballot. Election officials will also use the plain text to perform pre-election testing and post-election audits and recounts.
MEDIA CONTACT: Wanda Murren, 717-783-1621
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