Pennsylvania Department of State Certifies Fifth New Voting System with Paper Record and Advanced Security

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 26, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar has certified a fifth new voting system that provides a paper record for voters to verify before casting their ballot. A sixth system is undergoing testing for certification.

Secretary Boockvar certified the Clear Ballot ClearVote 1.5 on March 22. State certification of a voting system allows procurement of the system by any Pennsylvania county.

Within the last year, the Department of State has also certified the Unisyn Voting Solutions OpenElect, Unisyn Voting Solutions OpenElect 2.0A2, ES&S EVS and Dominion Voting Systems Inc. Democracy Suite 5.5-A.

Nationwide, there is bipartisan and near universal agreement that, in the interest of security, Direct Recording Electronic voting machines (DREs), still in use in most Pennsylvania counties, should be replaced, and all voters should be voting on paper ballots they can verify. The Trump Administration’s Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Senate and House Intelligence Committees, and many security and elections experts are urging states to switch to new systems that produce paper records.

“With the certification of the fifth system, county officials have yet another option as they move to upgrade their voting systems to the most secure, auditable and accessible available,” Secretary Boockvar said. “We are pleased to offer an additional choice as county officials demonstrate leadership and diligence in undertaking this critical infrastructure improvement.”

So far, 21 counties, or nearly a third, have taken official action toward acquiring new voting systems, either through a vote to purchase or lease a system, or a vote to approve funding. More than 50 counties, or about 75 percent, have reported plans to implement new systems by 2020. 

In April 2018, the Pennsylvania Department of State informed counties they have until the end of 2019 to select new voting systems that provide a paper record. The new systems are to be in use no later than the 2020 primary, and preferably by the November 2019 general election. Systems with paper trails allow for more accurate and reliable post-election audits. Counties have their choice from among any of the voting systems that attain both federal and state certification.

In Pennsylvania, every voting system and paper ballot must include plain text that voters can read to verify their choices before casting their ballot. Election officials will also use the plain text to perform pre-election testing and post-election audits and recounts.

Governor Wolf is seeking state funding for at least half of the counties’ cost for new voting systems. He will continue to work with the General Assembly to implement a plan for state funding and financing.

The governor has already committed $14.15 million in federal and state funding to counties for the new voting systems.

Counties can use a statewide purchasing contract to cut through red tape and negotiate the best deal with voting system vendors. The department also is investigating and pursuing other funding options, including additional federal aid.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Wanda Murren, 717-783-1621

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of State

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