Pa. senate Republicans still don’t want to fund Wolf’s voting machine upgrades

Voting machines at the Office of the City Commissioner's warehouse (Brad Larrison for WHYY)

Voting machines at the Office of the City Commissioner's warehouse (Brad Larrison for WHYY)

Without a budget deficit to fill — and the drama that often accompanies a shortfall — state lawmakers appear hopeful they’ll get a spending plan passed by the June 30 deadline.

But there is at least one sticking point: how much money to spend on new voting machines.

Many of Pennsylvania’s voting machines only record votes electronically.

That makes it almost impossible to double-check vote tallies. And it led to the Commonwealth settling a lawsuit that accused it of being susceptible to election tampering.

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There’s no evidence tampering happened. But as part of the settlement, Democratic Governor Tom Wolf committed to updating all voting machines by 2020.

He wants the legislature to give counties $75 million over five years to help pay for it.

But Jenn Kocher, a spokeswoman for the Senate GOP, said since some machines can be checked, it doesn’t make sense to replace them all.

“If it’s something that he wants to have done, it is his unfunded mandate,” she said. “He needs to figure out where the money comes from for it.”

Budget talks are still ongoing.

A spokesman for Wolf said if the Senate won’t agree to fund machines, the administration will “assess the best path forward for the commonwealth.”

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