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10/24/2019

Secretary of State Presents Northampton County Commissioners with Funding for New Voting System

Easton, PA — Acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar presented the Northampton County Commissioners with a $341,970 check today to help pay for the county's new voting system.

The check is part of $14.15 million in federal funding and a state match that Gov. Tom Wolf set aside in 2018 for distribution to counties for new voting systems. Additionally, the governor recently announced the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority is working toward issuing a bond for up to $90 million to reimburse counties for at least 60 percent of their actual costs for the systems.

"I am pleased to present this check to the commissioners for the new voting system that Northampton County voters will use for the first time in the Nov. 5 municipal election," Secretary Boockvar said. "Thanks to the commissioners' leadership, county residents can feel confident that every vote will be accurately counted and securely protected by the latest election technology. These new systems also provide greater accessibility for voters with disabilities."

Northampton County selected the ES&S EVS 6.0.2.1, one of seven voting systems certified at the federal and state level for security, auditability, and accessibility.

In April 2018, the Department of State informed counties they must select by the end of 2019 new voting systems that provide a paper record voters will verify before casting their ballot. These new systems – which will deliver enhanced, state-of-the-art security and more accurate and reliable post-election audits – must be implemented no later than the 2020 primary.

Every voting system and paper ballot in Pennsylvania must include plain text that voters can read to confirm their choices. Election officials will also use the plain text to perform pre-election testing and post-election audits and recounts.

So far, at least 52 counties, or 78 percent, have taken official action toward selecting a new voting system. And 46 counties, or 68 percent, plan to use their new voting system in the November election.

"We are honored to be receiving this Help America Vote Act grant.  With our new voting system we are attempting to make voting as accessible and secure as possible in Northampton County," county executive Lamont McClure said.

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 U.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.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Wanda Murren, 717-783-1621

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