Dauphin County won’t switch to new voting machines

Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Dauphin County Commissioners Jeff Haste and Mike Pries said the county will not buy new voting machines for the 2020 elections.

The county will notify Pennsylvania officials that it is staying with its current election system, the commissioners said at a workshop meeting Wednesday.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf last year began pressing counties to replace their voting machines. Federal authorities had warned Pennsylvania and other states that Russian hackers targeted them during the 2016 presidential election.

Haste and Pries, both Republicans, said it is unfair to place an additional burden on taxpayers when the county already has a hack-proof voting system in place. They questioned why the county should pay millions for a voting system that could create more problems.

“It’s been clear all along that the commissioners had some very serious misgivings about this mandate and being forced to make this change when there clearly wasn’t any need to make this change,” Dauphin County Chief Clerk Chad Saylor said.

Commissioners in neighboring York County apologized after last week’s election when problems arose at some ballot locations. The county had unveiled its new voting system for the first time.

York County replaced its touchscreen stations with paper ballots that are fed through a scanner. Voters complained of long waits at polling locations that had only one scanner.

When asked to comment, the Department of State issued a statement that says it has not reconsidered its decision that all counties must replace older voting systems with ones that produce a voter-verifiable paper trail.

“Counties have until July 1, 2020, to apply to the state for funding to help upgrade their voting systems,” the statement reads. “The Department of State encourages all counties which have not yet selected new systems to make their selection quickly in order to take advantage of the funding available.”

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