County set on new voting machines but not funding

Lancaster

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Lancaster County Commissioners settled on new voting machines this week.

The VerityVote system from Texas-based Hart InterCivic has been selected as the county’s next voting system. The machines will go into service in 2020.

“The average voter is going to see very little difference,” Commissioner Josh Parsons said. “Ninety-three percent or 94 percent of our current voters already use a paper ballot. Now it’s going to be 100 percent of voters who use a paper ballot.

The machines will be purchased for $2,710,994.

Commissioner had to pick new machines because the state demanded that every county update their voting machines to systems that leave a verifiable paper trail.

“Our current system was secure,” Parsons said. “There was no way to hack it. It was not plugged into the internet. We were a little frustrated that was decertified.”

There is still a question of how the machines will be paid for. Lancaster County is getting about $539,000 in federal money for the machines, but that means taxpayers could be on the hook for the remaining 80%, which is about $2 million.

“Right now, we don’t know if there is any state money coming or not,” Parsons said. “So, because we have this big unfunded mandate from the governor and the Department of State, we’re going to have to figure out a way to cover that.”

Gov. Tom Wolf has called on lawmakers to fund the machines.

Commissioners plan to talk about alternative funding options at a meeting on Tuesday.

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