New voting machines in Philadelphia’s future, but what kind still unknown

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Philadelphia’s electronic voting machines are only 13 years old, but they are tired and need to be replaced.  

The proposed city budget includes money for new machines.

In 2002, Philadelphia transitioned to electronic voting machines after decades of using mechanical ones.  The current machines work, but are obsolete and hard to repair for lack of parts.  City Budget Director Rebecca Rhynhart said $22 million has been earmarked for replacing the machines.

“There is a list of state-approved technologies that are allowed to be used for voting machines, so we don’t have the level of flexibility perhaps at looking at some of newer technologies,” she told City Council members.

New technology on the horizon that could be cheaper, said Councilman Mark Squilla.

“We want to make sure that we’re doing the right thing, that we’re not going to spend money that is unnecessary or that we are going to look at better ways, new software new opportunities that are out there,” he said.

Election officials contend now is the time to buy in order to get new machines in place after next year’s presidential race but before the 2017 city elections.

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