HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed legislation to help Pennsylvania’s counties afford new voting machines.
Wolf ordered counties to buy new voting machines that produce an auditable paper trail, but Senate Bill 48 passed the Republican-controlled Legislature with changes to election laws that Democratic lawmakers oppose.
One part of the bill eliminated the ballot option for voters to select a straight-party ticket. Democrats said it would have benefitted Republican candidates. Republicans said it would have encouraged voters to vote for candidates, not parties.
“I’m concerned the isolated removal of a convenient voting option would increase waiting times and could discourage participation,” Wolf said after he vetoed the measure Friday. “I repeatedly sought improvements to this bill that would ease access to voting and decrease waiting times, but those changes were not accepted.”
Wolf said the bill additionally weakened the ability of the state and counties to quickly replace voting machines in the future by creating “unnecessary bureaucracy and potentially harmful delays.”
The bill passed by the Legislature authorized borrowing $90 million to help counties underwrite a total voting-machine replacement cost that could exceed $100 million.
Wolf says he’s still committed to helping counties pay for voting machines.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.