By Kaylee Lindenmuth
HARRISBURG, Dauphin County - Any new voting system in the commonwealth must provide a paper trail, according to a Pennsylvania Department of State directive issued yesterday.
“This directive will ensure that the next generation of the commonwealth’s voting systems conforms to enhanced standards of resiliency, auditability and security,” said Acting Secretary of State Robert Torres in a release. “The current voting equipment in counties works and can be audited. But new voting machines with paper ballots or voter-verifiable paper backup will improve auditability and augment security.”
According to the department of state, a directive requiring a paper record of voting is necessary because:
· It is in line with modern equipment offered by voting system manufacturers;
· It will allow counties to expand their auditing practices. Auditing of voting equipment is an essential part of guaranteeing a system’s integrity and accuracy.
· It will enable compliance, if future legislation requiring a paper record is enacted at the state or federal level; and
· It will ensure that Pennsylvania’s voting system can achieve resilience by enhancing its ability to withstand and recover more rapidly from disruptions.
“We want to be proactive and replace older voting systems before their hardware and software become obsolete. This directive is a first step in that modernization effort. We will continue to work closely with the General Assembly and county officials to implement reforms that enhance the accessibility and integrity of Pennsylvania’s elections,” Secretary Torres added.
Governor Tom Wolf also issued a statement on the subject, saying "counties across Pennsylvania are preparing to replace their aging voting equipment in the next few years. Today’s action by the Department of State ensures those new modern machines will include a paper record. This directive is another important step to strengthen the accuracy of our voting system and the integrity of our elections. We will continue to advocate for the federal government to provide more resources to update voting machines.”