HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A directive prohibiting third-party access to electronic voting systems has been issued with the goal of addressing requests that counties allow outside entities not involved with the conduct of elections to review and copy the internal electronic, software, mechanical, logic and related components of Pa.’s voting systems.

Acting Secretary of State Veronica W. Degraffenreid issued the directive on Friday, July 9.

Get daily news, weather, breaking news and alerts straight to your inbox! Sign up for the abc27 newsletters here

“Such access by the third parties undermines chain of custody requirements and strict access limitation necessary to prevent both intentional and inadvertent tampering with electronic voting systems,” Degraffenreid said. “It also jeopardizes the security and integrity of the systems and will prevent electronic voting system vendors from affirming that the systems continue to meet Commonwealth security standards and U.S. Election Assistance Commission certification.”

According to the press release, the directive states that county boards of elections shall not provide physical, electronic or internal access to third parties seeking to copy and/or conduct an examination of state-certified electronic voting systems, or any components of such systems.

Voting equipment that allows such access will be considered no longer secure or reliable to use in subsequent elections. The Department of State will withdraw its certification of the equipment. Counties allowing third-party access will result in them being required to replace their voting systems purchased in all Pa. counties in 2019 or early 2020.

“We have already had two legal audits and dozens of legal opinions all stating the same thing, there was no widespread fraud in Pennsylvania. No counties should comply with these ‘demands,’ and if they do there will be substantial costs to counties and voters, including disclosure of personal data,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.

The directive shall remain in force until cancelled or rescinded by the secretary of the commonwealth, by a subsequent directive or by another issuance.