New Commonwealth voting systems must provide paper record

By Kaylee Lindenmuth,
News Editor

Any new voting machines purchased in the commonwealth must leave a paper trail, according to a directive issued by the Pennsylvania Department of State.

The directive, issued on Feb. 9, states, “all commonwealth voting systems purchased from February 9, 2018, forward must employ a voter-verifiable paper ballot or paper record of votes cast.”

The directive does not force counties to replace current voting systems or prohibit them from purchasing equipment to maintain such a system.

“This directive will ensure that the next generation of the commonwealth’s voting systems conforms to enhanced standards of resiliency, auditability and security,” Acting Secretary of State Robert Torres said in a release. “The current voting equipment in counties works and can be audited. But new voting machines with paper ballots or voter-verifiable paper backup will improve auditability and augment security.”

Governor Tom Wolf issued a statement on the subject, noting the directive will ensure the integrity of elections as counties replace aging equipment.

“This directive is another important step to strengthen the accuracy of our voting system and the integrity of our elections. We will continue to advocate for the federal government to provide more resources to update voting machines,” said Wolf.

According to the Department of State, the directive will “allow counties to expand their auditing practices,” and “ensure that Pennsylvania’s voting system can achieve resilience by enhancing its ability to withstand and recover more rapidly from disruptions.”

“We want to be proactive and replace older voting systems before their hardware and software become obsolete… We will continue to work closely with the General Assembly and county officials to implement reforms that enhance the accessibility and integrity of Pennsylvania’s elections,” Secretary Torres added.

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