Harrisburg, PA — Pennsylvania's progress in upgrading its election equipment reached an important milestone this week, with half of counties now having taken official action toward purchasing new voting systems with advanced security to ensure the integrity of the vote and the accuracy of audits and recounts.
Thirty-four of the commonwealth's 67 counties have voted to either buy or lease a new voting system with a paper record, or have approved funding for such a system.
About 80 percent of counties have selected, or have concrete plans to select, their new voting system and implement it by the April 2020 primary, including nine counties that have already deployed new systems.
President Trump's U.S. Department of Homeland Security, along with the U.S. Senate and House intelligence committees and many security experts, have urged states to switch to new voting systems that produce a paper record before the 2020 election.
Paper records allow voters to verify their choices before casting their ballot and enable election officials to conduct the most accurate recounts and audits of election results.
In April 2018, the Department of State informed counties they must select new voting systems that provide a paper record, meet 21st-century standards of security and accessibility for people with disabilities, and can be more thoroughly audited than current systems. Counties must choose their new voting systems by Dec. 31, 2019, and implement them no later than the 2020 primary election.
"I applaud the counties for their commitment and diligent efforts to provide their voters with the most up-to-date, secure and accessible voting systems available," Acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said. "I am inspired by their leadership in protecting the accuracy and integrity of Pennsylvania's vote counts."
On June 13, counties gained a seventh choice of voting systems that meet the state's new security and accessibility standards and provide a paper record. Secretary Boockvar certified for use in the commonwealth the Hart Verity Voting 2.3.4. system. In the last year, the Department of State also has certified the:
Under the Pennsylvania Election Code, every county must employ voting systems that are certified by both the federal Election Assistance Commission and the secretary of the commonwealth.
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.
Governor Wolf has proposed a minimum of $15 million in state funding each year for the next five years, for a combined total of at least $75 million to assist counties in acquiring new voting systems.
The governor has already committed $14.15 million in federal and state funding to counties for new voting systems.
The Department of State will continue to pursue more federal assistance and other funding sources to assist counties in paying for their new voting systems.
The department also has provided a statewide purchasing contract that counties can use to negotiate their best deal, while including specifics that will best meet their needs.
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