Chambersburg, PA – The Franklin County Election Board held a public hearing on Tuesday to discuss replacing the County’s current voting equipment.
All Pennsylvania counties are required to replace election equipment by the 2020 primary election.
County staff presented information on the history of Franklin County’s current voting machines, the current directive, as well as recommendations for new machines.
Purchased in 2006 in response to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, the current machines are nearing the end of their usability. While these voting machines do utilize the mandatory paper ballots, the Department of State is requiring even the counties with an existing paper ballot process to upgrade their equipment too.
The proposed quote for replacing the equipment from vendor ES&S is $646,053. A 2018 HAVA Election Security Grant award to the county covers $152,626 of the cost.
This leaves a cost to the county of $493,427.
Franklin County Deputy Chief Clerk Jean Byers stated that Governor Wolf is actively seeking funding to help counties meet the cost of this requirement.
In an effort to ensure the requirement is met, the PA Department of State is considering decertifying the voting systems currently in use prior to the 2020 primary election. Should a county continue to use their current machines, all votes cast would be void.
“We do not have a choice when the Secretary of State says that she will not count our votes”Jerry Warnement | Franklin County Board of Elections
The new equipment will not be connected to the internet and a paper ballot will still be used. The new voting machines will be in place for the November 5, 2019 Municipal Election.