York County unlikely to wait for state voting machine cash

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

York County Commissioner Doug Hoke said he'd prefer to know how much money the state will provide before approving a contract for new voting machines, but that might not be feasible under the time constraints.

The county is still negotiating its upcoming contract with Dominion Voting Systems for new machines that have a voter-verifiable paper trail.

"If it comes before us, I’m certainly fine on voting for it," Hoke said.

Hoke said the contract could be ready for a vote in June. Included will be 360 new machines, half of which will comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, said Nikki Suchanic, director of elections and voter registration for York County.

The machines will cost an estimated $1.2 million to $1.5 million.

Gov. Tom Wolf made the push for new voting machines after federal authorities said Russian hackers meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

Per the governor's order, new machines must leave a paper trail and must be in place by Dec. 31, in time for the 2020 presidential race.

Wolf pledged $75 million in funding to help offset the cost, estimated to be $125 million statewide, but the actual funding total won't be determined until the state General Assembly approves the state budget.

The deadline for the state budget is June 30.

"My sense is we’re going to move forward regardless of whatever amount of funding the state comes up with," said Commissioner Chris Reilly.

President Commissioner Susan Byrnes also said the county plans to move ahead with the contract as soon as it's ready for a vote.

The county needs time to train the poll workers so the machines can be used in the Nov. 5 municipal election.

"We don’t want to wait for 2020," she said.

The county expects about a $500,000 reimbursement from the federal government and is hoping for an additional $250,000 from the state, Byrnes said.

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