As Pennsylvania counties prepare to replace aging voting systems, the Department of State is inviting the public to view several new voting systems that offer 21st-century advanced security and a paper trail. The expo is 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Erie County Blasco Memorial Library, 160 East Front Street.
“These new voting systems will strengthen election security and ensure the integrity of each vote,” said Jonathan Marks, commissioner of the Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation. “This is an opportunity for voters to try the new technology and see how a paper record lets them verify their choices are correct before casting a ballot.”
In April 2018, the department informed counties they must select new voting systems that provide a paper record by the end of 2019, and preferably have a system in use by the November 2019 general election or no later than the 2020 primary.
Nationwide, there is bipartisan and near universal agreement that, in the interest of security, 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. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Senate and House Intelligence Committees, and many experts are urging states to switch to new systems that produce paper records.
Counties will have their choice from among certified voting systems that meet both federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC) standards and the Department of State’s updated security and accessibility standards. The department has certified four of the voting systems to be displayed at the expo and expects to certify two more systems in the next few months.
Governor Wolf has committed to seeking state funding for at least half of the counties’ cost for new voting systems. He will work with the General Assembly to develop specific proposals for state funding and financing.
The governor has already committed $14.15 million in federal and state funding to counties for the new voting systems.
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, low-interest financing, leases, cost-sharing and other means.
The Erie expo is the last of five expos the department scheduled across the state. Expos were held in State College, Moosic, Carlisle and Doylestown in late 2018. These events are a continuation of the department’s public education campaign to inform voters and local officials about new voting systems and to allow them to test the systems’ features.
Vendors participating in the demonstration are Unisyn Voting Solutions, Dominion Voting Systems, Election Systems & Software (ES&S), Hart InterCivic and Clear Ballot Group.
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of State