Friday, October 25, 2019

NorCo Receives $342k For $2.9 M Voting System

Secy of State Kathy Boockvar (left) presents to Exec Lamont
McClure and Council VP Lori Vargo-Heffner
Pennsylvania's Acting Secretary of State, Kathy Boockvar, visited Northampton County on Thursday to present a $341,970 check to help pay for the $2.9 million Express Vote XL voting system approved by County Council in May. The County intends to use this system, which combines a 32" touch screen with a voter-verifiable paper trail, in November's election.

This purchase was an unfunded mandate. Last year, Pennsylvania’s Department of State directed all 67 counties to select new voting systems with a voter verifiable paper trail, making post-election audits more accurate. They must be in place before the 2020 primary. Though the statewide cost of this change is estimated at $125 million to $150 million, the state has yet to provide most of the funding. In fact, the $341,970 check delivered to Northampton County on Thursday comes mostly from a federal grant awarded to the states last year.

Sec'y of State Kathy Boockvar casts write-in vote for
Exec Lamont McClure on Express Vote XL.
The state legislature tried to help the counties. In July, the General Assembly passed a bill to reimburse counties for at least 60% of the actual cost of these new voting systems.

Governor Tom Wolf vetoed the measure because it also eliminated straight-ticket voting.

After this setback, Governor Wolf proposed floating a bond for new voting systems through the state's Economic Development Financing Authority (PEDFA). But Republicans argue the Governor lacks constitutional authority to borrow or spend money without approval from the General Assembly. Moreover, PEDFA bylaws prohibit borrowing on behalf of state departments without approval from the legislature.

Sec'y of State Kathy Boockvar meets a few
election judges 
Acting Secretary Boockvar still held out hope for a PEDFA bond on Thursday, but Governor Wolf appears to have reversed himself. He is now willing to support a bill nearly identical to the measure he vetoed in July. His spokesperson said that, despite opposition from many Democrats over the elimination of straight-party voting, the governor now views the amended bill as a compromise.

So far, 52 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties have taken steps toward selecting a new voting system. Northampton and Lehigh Counties are two of 46 counties ready to use these new systems in November.

Boockvar said Northampton County's Express Vote XL is one of seven systems certified at both the state and federal levels. She added that Pennsylvania's certification process is even more rigorous than the federal review.

Executive Lamont McClure put it more simply.

"Your vote will be counted," he said.

In addition to a paper trail for every ballot, the Express Vote XL has been lauded for its accessibility by organizations like the Pennsylvania Council for the Blind.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Personally I think single-ticket voting should be eliminated. Independents should be able to vote in primaries. But I am just one voice.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a big scam to me. Something's rotten in Denmark, or rather Harrisburg.

Anonymous said...

This dude is the king of photo ops.

Anonymous said...

We need the machines. But whenever I see politicians with shit eating grins holding up cardboard checks as if it's their money they're magnanimously bestowing upon us as if we should be grateful, I struggle not to wish each of them a month straight of fire hose diarrhea and complicating anal fissures followed by root canal with dry socket complications. I'm not wishing this. But I'm struggling.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Lol. What kills me is only 5% of that check comes from the state.The rest is from the Federal Elections Assistance Comm'n. But there is failed Congressional candidate Boockvar, magnanimously handing out federal money. She was there to make Wolf look good, even though he vetoed a measure that would have given us a lot more money.

Anonymous said...

I remember when Wolf 1st campaigned- driving around in his Jeep, using his daughters as pawns to come across as "an average Joe." The truth is, he's an arrogant, partisan hack. His veto of this bill, proves my point. His deep pockets won him the election- I'm an independent, and I can't stand the guy!

Anonymous said...

Bernie, are the two ladies in the first pic Russian spies?

Bernie O'Hare said...

" His veto of this bill, proves my point."

It certainly does. I voted for him against Wagner, but aside from his gift ban, he has done nothing to promote reforms of our antiquated electoral system. Instead, he has been a roadblock and has been overly partisan.

Anonymous said...

Independents should not be allowed to vote outside of their party lines in primary elections. If you want to demonstrate how independent you truly are then put up a candidate in the primary. If your independent candidate wins his or her primary and they are exceptional candidates, I will gladly vote for them in the general election. The primary elections should remain right the way they are. Party elections. If you believe in the Republican ideals then register your party. If you believe democratic ideas then register your party. If you are opposed to both parties ideals than register and vote something else. Socialist, communist, whigs, whatever. Do not fix something that is not broken, and don't give me that bullshit that we are disenfranchising millions of voters. If they put up a primary candidate, they can vote in the primary or they can go to the polls and conduct a write-in campaign. They are not disenfranchised.

Bernie O'Hare said...

9:28 is one of those partisan hacks. Closed primaries appeal to the extremes in either party.

Anonymous said...

O GREAT, Maybe now they will have enough money to pay fair market value for the seizure of 150 S UNION ST

Bernie O'Hare said...

This post has nothing to do with your attempt to reap a windfall on a property you picked up at a sheriff's sale.

Anonymous said...

Just read where the new trend is to open up absentee ballot voting so everyone "can vote from their couch." I thought we were trying to get away from paper ballots that are hand counted.

Anonymous said...

Time for someone like Tara Zirinski to look into the county's shenanigans.

Bernie O'Hare said...

” I thought we were trying to get away from paper ballots that are hand counted.”

You thought wrong and obviously have spent little time informing yourself. This is a hybrid machine combining the convenience of a touch screen with a paper ballot in which there can be no dispute about voter intent.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Peterjcochran said...

I still say ,for that much money we could hire people to do paper ballots,count them and settle issue. So what if it takes longer. 2 million distribution among poll workers for five years . I’ll take that deal.

Peterjcochran said...

Less that 18 % of registered voters is my prediction this cycle county wide .

Bernie O'Hare said...

Peter,

1) I agree turnout in Nov. will be low, which is good for Rs like you and bad for Ds like me. But next year, turnout will be very heavy.

2) If we did as you suggest, we would be another Florida squabbling for days over "voter intent." This is a good machine. We had no choice but to get a new system, thanks to Gov. Wolf, but the system selected should last 10 years.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Off topic comment,and one that includes an anonymous personal attack, is deleted. And yes, the property was sold to the bank at a Sheriff's Sale first.

Anonymous said...

Bernie @ 1:24 – The point of the post was absentee ballots and the regressive trend of universal absentee ballots. You injected machine voting which was not the point or even mentioned.
The new machines record the votes on site, processes them, and tallies the votes. Absentee ballots are hand written off site, mailed in (or gathered by partisan workers in California), processed by individuals, and then tallied by people…just like what was done before machine voting.
Evidently it is you who has spent little time informing yourself and are also very weak on reading comprehension.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I think I know the point if my own post. It had nothing to do with absentees, which you are only injecting into the conversation now. And you even got that wrong.

Bernie O'Hare said...

An anonymous coward who insists on being both OT and personal is deleted

Anonymous said...

"compromise".....There's a word that hasn't been used or exercised enough in the last few years.

Anonymous said...

Nice pictures of Emperor McClure and his minions.