Pennsylvania’s governor on Tuesday announced that he would dedicate $75 million to voting technology upgrades over the next five years, but some election security activists aren’t pleased with the incremental approach in one of the highest-profile states still using paperless voting machines. Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2019 budget gives counties $15 million to help them buy paper systems and promises $60 million more over the following four years. Last April, the state required counties to replace paperless machines by the end of 2019. The new funding pledge wasn’t enough for Verified Voting, a leading election security watchdog group. Marian Schneider, the group’s president, said in a statement that Wolf’s budget “falls short of providing the resources counties need to implement best election security practices.”
Schneider urged state lawmakers to give counties more than the governor called for in his budget. Last month, an independent commission urged Pennsylvania to prioritize the replacement process, which the state estimated last year could cost as much as $153 million.
“The funding is staggered because the administration is working with vendors on payment scheduling to help municipalities cover the costs,” Wolf spokesman J.J. Abbott told MC. “That said, the Department of State is proceeding with their plan to ensure only machines with a paper trail are certified for the 2020 election. We appreciate the work of the commission and agree with their total cost estimate, and are committed to funding at least fifty percent of county costs.”