Pennsylvania governor approves $90M fund for upgrades to state voting machines

Pennsylvania governor approves $90M fund for upgrades to state voting machines
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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced Tuesday that his administration will provide $90 million in funding for counties across the state to upgrade their voting machines ahead of the 2020 election after vetoing a bill that included the funding last week.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Wolf announced the creation of a $90 million bond that will help state election officials fund upgrades to ballot machines required under an unfunded mandate previously signed into law by Wolf, which ordered all state election machines to be upgraded or replaced with versions that create a clear paper trail that can be audited.

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His decision to fund a bond without the state legislature's approval comes less than a week after Wolf vetoed a GOP-led bill that would have provided the same amount of funding but would have also eliminated straight-party voting in the state, a change which Democrats argued would increase wait times on Election Day.

“Senate Bill 48 makes changes to our elections that I do not believe strike the right balance to improve access to voters or security. The bill weakens the ability of the commonwealth and counties to quickly respond to security needs of voting systems in the future, creating unnecessary bureaucracy and potentially harmful delays," Wolf said last Friday upon vetoing the GOP's bill.

“National security and cybersecurity experts, including the Trump administration, are urging Pennsylvania and other states to have new voting systems with advanced security and a paper trail," he continued at the time, adding: "Counties have embraced the need to replace voting machines to combat hacking and improve the accuracy of recounts. I applaud their dedication to protecting the integrity of our elections, and I remain committed to voting machine funding.”

The funding will be doled out to counties across the state by Pennsylvania's Department of State, according to the Inquirer, and will cover just over half of the estimated $150 million required to upgrade state voting systems.