Funding necessary for modernized voting machines
Many of Pennsylvania’s voting machines are more than 20 years old, and there challenges maintaining many current systems because of the age of the machines, the scarcity of parts, and the costs of repairs and maintenance. I’m referring to The Express’ “Our View” of Nov. 27 entitled, “New voting machines are not necessary.”
Statewide, several machines malfunctioned or failed in the recent General Election.
Beyond function, security is a concern. Pennsylvania was among the states that outside interests targeted unsuccessfully in 2016. Many expect more attempts nationally. Right now, 83 percent of Pennsylvanians are voting on vulnerable machines that do not leave a reliable paper trail that can be audited to confirm outcomes.
While our system in Pennsylvania works well, we shouldn’t wait until our systems fail to enhance security when we know of vulnerabilities. The first step is updating aging election systems. The Pennsylvania Department of State and U.S. Elections Assistance Commission are responsible for testing and certifying machines. The agencies recently indicated that an additional 3-5 new voting systems are expected to be certified over the course of the next several months, which will increase the options available to counties by spring 2019.
Nothing is more fundamental to the way our government operates than demonstrating to the public that their votes are being captured and counted as intended, that the outcomes are correct, and that our elections are fair, accurate, accessible and secure.
And the editorial board is right: It can’t and shouldn’t be an unfunded mandate, because this is a shared priority. That’s why the General Assembly and administration need to come together quickly to help all 67 counties buy new voting systems when the legislative session starts in January.