Governor proposes $75 million for voting machines
HARRISBURG (AP) — Governor Wolf’s 2019-20 budget proposes a minimum of $15 million each year for the next five years, for a combined total of at least $75 million, in state funding for new voting systems.
“There is widespread agreement across the nation that it is in the best interest of election integrity to use voting systems meeting the highest standards of security and auditability,” Acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said. “We seek this substantial support because these critical purchases should be funded with a cost-share of federal, state and local funds, as all of us in all levels of government benefit from more secure and verifiable elections.”
The Department of State directed in April 2018 that all Pennsylvania counties switch to voting systems with a paper record that voters can verify by the 2020 primary.
The governor has already committed $14.15 million in federal and state funding to counties for new voting systems.
The department will continue to pursue more federal assistance and other funding sources, such as low-interest loans and leases, 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.
Nationwide, there is bipartisan and near universal agreement that 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. Senate and House intelligence committees, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and many experts have urged states to switch to new systems that produce paper records before the 2020 election.
Pennsylvania is one of only 13 states still using DREs. Five of these states use only DREs, and eight states, including Pennsylvania, use a mix of DREs and paper systems. Most of these states are upgrading to all paper ballot-based systems by 2020.