HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s top elections official says one-third of the state’s counties are advancing plans to install new voting systems ahead of 2020’s presidential election.
Kathy Boockvar, Gov. Tom Wolf’s acting secretary of state, told lawmakers Tuesday that 21 of 67 counties have approved plans amid the administration’s push to adopt systems with voter-verifiable paper trails that are viewed as a hedge against hacking.
Boockvar was testifying during a Senate committee hearing on legislation to require the administration to first submit a report to lawmakers justifying any effort to decertify voting systems in at least half of Pennsylvania’s counties. Lawmakers are also debating funding to help counties pay for machines.
The Trump administration and election-security advocates are pushing for new machines across the nation after federal authorities said Russian hackers targeted at least 21 states during 2016’s presidential election.
Cumberland County has not made a decision yet on replacing machines.
“We’re still in the process of looking at our options,” Bethany Salzarulo, director of the county’s Bureau of Elections, said last week.
Once the county’s elections board selects a device, the county will also have to figure out how to pay for it. Estimates put the statewide cost at around $125 million, of which Wolf has proposed the state will pay for half, and the counties will fund the rest.