One Pennsylvania county official claims his voting machines are unhackable. Another admits hers are old, but the county can’t afford to buy new ones. A third says he’s waiting for the state to tell him which new voting machines are safest for Pennsylvania voters. At a time of national concern over foreign interference in U.S. elections, 57 percent of the voters in Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia’s, are casting their ballots on machines that are outdated, hackable, and don’t provide a paper record of each vote to safeguard against fraud. After Texas, Pennsylvania has the most registered voters using machines with no paper trail, according to Verified Voting, a nonpartisan group promoting trustworthy voting systems.
… In late March, Congress approved spending $380 million to boost the security of election systems across the country, with Pennsylvania projected to get $13.5 million. But it’s not enough to cover the costs of replacing the machines, said Marian Schneider, former adviser to Wolf on election policy and deputy secretary at the Pennsylvania Department of State. As president of Verified Voting, she urges all states to switch to safer machines by 2020.
She added that Pennsylvania could do three things that would speed replacement of problematic machines: Allocate state funding; decertify the vulnerable machines, which would force counties to replace equipment; and identify acceptable replacement machines.
The secretary of state will announce a handful of certified models in the coming weeks and months, said agency spokeswoman Wanda Murren.
If the state really wants to be ambitious, it could make the changeover by the 2018 midterms, Schneider said. “I’m not saying it’s going to be easy,” Schneider said. “But I think we should try.”