Pennsylvania to issue $90M bonds for voting machine upgrades

Graphic: U.S. Air Force

July 10 (UPI) — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday announced plans to spend $90 million to upgrade the state’s voting machines.

The upgrade follows an order he issued last year requiring each vote to leave a paper trail. Pennsylvania’s 67 counties must foot the bill for the $150 million upgrade project, 60 percent of which will be reimbursed by the state.

“Pennsylvania counties are well on their way to replacing their voting systems, and I applaud their tremendous commitment to protecting our elections,” Wolf said. “I remain committed to supporting their efforts, and this funding will help the counties to complete that process.”

Wolf’s announcement comes days after vetoing a Republican-led bill, which would have spent $90 million on voting machine upgrades but also required the elimination of straight-party voting options. The Democratic Party, including Wolf, opposed the straight-ticket measure.

Wolf said the $90 million may be provided through bonds issued by the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority. The Department of State also may provide grants.

The governor said counties that still use hand-marked paper ballots may request an extension for upgrading to digital devices until June 2021.

At the federal level, senators plan to hold a meeting Wednesday with officials from Homeland Security, the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on election security.


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