County ahead of game in election prep
Pennsylvania gave Lehigh County election officials a check for $380,868 that will partially pay the expense of new voting machines.
Secretary of State Kathleen Boockvar presented a mock-up oversize check to Lehigh County Executive Phillips Armstrong in a short presentation last week in the administration building on Seventh Street in Allentown.
She said the check is part of a $14.15 million packet of state and federal funds set aside in 2018 for just this purpose.
Boockvar said the commonwealth is working to issue a bond for up to $90 million that will reimburse counties for up to 60 percent of the actual costs for new voting systems.
“You guys have been ahead of the state,” said Boockvar about Lehigh County’s proactive purchase of new machines. “You started the process early. I applaud you for your voter preparations – it has been outstanding.
“I am pleased to present this check to the commissioners for the new voting system that Lehigh County voters will use for the first time in the November 5th municipal election.”
Boockvar said county residents can feel confident that every vote will be accurately counted and securely protected by the latest election technology, and that the new machines also allow greater access by handicapped voters.
“Our new machines are a physical manifestation of our commitment to election security, integrity and the voice of voters here in Lehigh County,” said Commissioner Amy Zanelli in a prepared statement.
The machines scan the paper ballot, tabulate the results, then keep the paper ballot secure until it is delivered to chief clerk of the office of the Election Board member Timothy Benyo. There the paper ballots can be used, if needed, for recounts or audits.
According to Boockvar, the new secure voting systems must be in place and implemented statewide no later that the 2020 primary.
According to information provided by Boockvar’s staff, at least 49 counties (73 percent) have taken official action toward purchases or leases of new voting systems. At least 53 counties (80 percent) will be using paper ballots in the November election, including 47 counties with new voting systems and six counties that have been using paper ballots.