Pennsylvania: Governor vetoes bill to help counties pay for required upgrade of voting machines | Charles Thompson/PennLive
Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed a bill that would have provided $90 million in state funding to Pennsylvania’s 67 counties to share the cost of a wholesale upgrade of voting machines in time for the 2020 presidential election. Wolf supported the funding measure, and said he remains committed to providing state funding to ease the estimated $150 million financial burden on county governments going forward. But he said he was vetoing the bill largely because of an attached provision that would have abolished the century-old practice of permitting voters to cast a ballot for every candidate from one party through a single button. He also cited his objections to language inserted in the bill that would impose legislative review on any future action by the Department of State – which oversees the administration of elections statewide – to decertify Pennsylvania’s voting machines en masse. Wolf said that provision would unnecessarily bind the hands of future governors who might need to act quickly in the event of election security issues. Doug Hill, executive director of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, said that as a practical matter, he expects most counties to press forward with their plans to replace or upgrade their existing systems. “The hard part is we are obligated (by a legal settlement) to do it by next April,” Hill said, “and neither the proposed legislation or the veto changes that calendar for us.” Most counties, Hill added, are expected to have new machines in place by this fall.