Pa. Legislature approves $90M for new voting machines; bill would end straight party voting

Charles Thompson | June 27, 2019, Harrisburg Patriot News

In a flurry of pre-summer recess action, the General Assembly gave final approval Thursday to a bill that calls for the state to borrow up to $90 million to help counties defray the cost of buying new voting machines.

But that bill also would end the time-honored option of casting a straight-party vote.

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Who’s making money as Pa. counties upgrade voting machines?

Emily Previti and Ed Mahon | Tuesday, May 28, 2019, PA Post

UPPER MERION TWP. – As Jeff Frank strode out of his polling place on a recent Tuesday morning, poll watchers thanked him for voting.

“Have a great day – enjoy the complaints as they come out the door,” Frank responded.

Municipal elections tend to be relatively quiet – even in Montgomery County, which consistently turns out a higher number of voters than any other county in the state but more-populous Philadelphia and Allegheny counties.

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As 2020 nears, pressure grows to replace voting machines

Christina A. Cassidy | Tuesday, March 5, 2019, The Associated Press

ATLANTA — Time and money are running short for states to replace aging or inadequate voting machines before the 2020 presidential primaries, according to a report released Tuesday.

State and local election officials in 31 states say they want to replace their voting equipment before the elections, but the vast majority said they don’t have enough money to do so, according to The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU’s School of Law.

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Does Pa. really need new voting machines? County commissioners question funding, timing

Jan Murphy | Monday, December 3, 2018, Harrisburg Patriot News

If Gov. Tom Wolf thinks county commissioners’ concerns about his directive to buy new voting machines will go away with last week’s promise to try to get the state to help pay for them, he’s got another thing coming.

Commissioners interviewed late last week offered a litany of other reasons beyond funding – and that’s a major concern –why they think this mandate to replace their machines with ones that create a paper trail by 2020 is unnecessary and being done hastily.

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Sides clash over who decides whether Allegheny County gets new voting machines

Wednesday, October 17, 2018, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

An activist group that wants Allegheny County to replace electronic voting machines it says are vulnerable to hacking squared off in Commonwealth Court on Wednesday with county lawyers who say the group’s proposed ordinance violates the law.

OpenPittsburgh and several other plaintiffs had appealed a ruling by Common Pleas Judge Joseph James, who sided with the county in rejecting the ordinance proposed last year.

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Election Security Commission recommends immediate action on vulnerable voting machines

Deb Erdley | Tuesday, September 25, 2018, Pittsburgh Tribute Review

Saying Pennsylvania elections are at risk, the bipartisan Blue Ribbon Commission on Pennsylvania’s Election Security on Tuesday issued a series of recommendations months in advance of the release of its full report.

The commission, convened by former U.S. Attorney David Hickton, founding director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security , and Grove City College President Paul McNulty, said it is critical that counties act to replace voting machines that lack paper back-ups in time for the 2019 election.

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Pennsylvania will receive funding to upgrade voting machines, but will it be enough?

Julian Routh | Monday, April 16, 2018, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Federal funding slated for an upgrade of Pennsylvania’s voting machines might fall far short of what’s needed, forcing counties to take on the financial burden.

The state is expected to get $13.5 million to upgrade machines in time for the 2020 presidential election.

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State: Counties need new voting machines by 2020

April 12, 2018, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pennsylvania counties should have new voting machines that keep a paper record in place by 2020, and preferably in time for the November 2019 election, a top state official said Thursday.

Robert Torres, acting secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of State, said the commonwealth expects to receive $13.5 million in federal funding that could help counties cover the cost of replacing their older machines.

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