It’s getting down to crunch time for Pennsylvania’s counties to decide which new voting machines to buy, and how, as Gov. Tom Wolf presses them to switch to voting machines that leave a paper trail as a safeguard against hacking. Wolf’s administration told county officials this week the Democratic governor wants the state to cover at least half the cost. The news came as counties assemble fiscal-year budgets and try out machines that are expected to be included in a state purchasing contract being finalized in the coming weeks. Securing state aid will mean persuading the Republican-controlled Legislature to commit tens of millions of dollars toward what counties estimate will eventually be a $125 million tab.
In a statement, Wolf’s administration said it had just begun discussing the matter with top lawmakers and, while it had no firm commitments, it called the initial meetings “very positive.”
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Stan Saylor, R-York, took a circumspect view of Wolf’s overtures, saying he’ll review the proposal and meet with Wolf’s top elections official, Robert Torres, to discuss it.
“Once again, the governor is committing the commonwealth to more spending without explaining how he plans to pay for it,” Saylor said in a statement.