|Secy of State Kathy Boockvar (left) presents to Exec Lamont|
McClure and Council VP Lori Vargo-Heffner
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.
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|
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.