Pennsylvania state lawmakers have held a rare summer meeting to discuss updating guidelines on voting machine technology. Some elections officials are taking the opportunity to try and convince them to make broader changes to the commonwealth’s election codes.
Wes Perry, assistant director of elections in Washington County, says most of the state’s voting machines were bought with a federal grant about a decade ago, and are due to be replaced soon. He’s voicing concern about the costs involved— pegging the price tag at five million dollars for replacement machines in just his county.
Money is not the whole problem. “Even if the state were to give us a big pot of money, that does not fix the systemic problems…the election day issue that’s going to come up if something isn’t done to fix the election code, where there will be polls that just won’t open because there’ll be nobody to man them,” Perry said.
Perry says the current code written in 1937 is outdated and too “cookie cutter” for the diverse electorates it has to cover. He says that leads to inefficient use of resources, like time, money, and manpower, but doubts any meaningful changes will be made in time for Election Day in November.