Midstate counties will not see new voting machines for May primary

Investigations

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Some Pennsylvania voters will see new voting machines when they head to polls on Tuesday. 

“I think we all know with election security, the key is that we need to be putting up the walls faster than somebody is trying to tear them down,” said Kathy Boockvar, Acting Secretary of State. 

Governor Tom Wolf is ordering all of the counties in the state to upgrade their voting machines by 2020.

“All of them were created before the very first iPhone was created, before any modern security standards were created,” said Boockvar. 

The voting machines in Pennsylvania are 13 to 30 years old. The state wants to update those machines with ones that provide a more secure paper trail.

“Election security, everybody knows, has been a huge focus of attention over the past couple of years. One thing that has almost universal agreement: all agree that we need to have a voter-verifiable paper trail that can be audited, a paper ballot” said Boockvar.

Upgrading the new machines is expected to cost $125 million to $150 million. The state received a $14.1 million from the federal government to go toward the upgrades. Wolf is also asking the Legislature for $75 million over the next five years.

Counties are responsible for picking up the rest of the multi-million dollar tab. Many counties do not support the machine changes, saying their current voting systems are secure.

“We already have a verifiable paper trail with our current voting equipment including software upgrades, which were made recently,” Mifflin County Commissioner Steve Dunkle said.

Mifflin, Cumberland, and York counties do not plan to have the new systems in place this year. Adams, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, and Perry County residents will vote on new machines in the November general election. 

“Every county in the state is on track to do this in time,” said Boockvar. Statewide, nine counties will have new machines in place for the May primary election.

The cost for the voting machines varies by county. Some counties are still testing machines and negotiating contracts. 

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