Republicans push back on cash Wolf wants for voting machines

Marc Levy
Associated Press
Paula and Fred Sembach, of Dauphin County, are advised by Willie Wesley, Jr, director of business development for Election Systems and Software, background, while sampling a voting machine at the New Voting Systems Expo hosted by the Pennsylvania Department of State at Dickinson College Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. Fred is chief of staff to State Senator Mike Folmer. Pennsylvania counties are preparing to replace voting machines after Gov. Tom Wolf in April mandated that voting machines used in the state have a verifiable paper trail. Bill Kalina photo

HARRISBURG – Republican lawmakers aren’t committing to the money sought by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf to back up his demand that Pennsylvania’s counties replace their voting machines by 2020’s presidential elections.

Republicans who control Pennsylvania’s Legislature say a roughly $34 billion budget counterproposal they are finalizing this week doesn’t include the $15 million Wolf requested.

Wolf last year began pressing counties to buy machines with a paper-based backup that allows a voter to double-check how their vote was recorded. That followed warnings by federal authorities that Russian hackers had targeted Pennsylvania and at least 20 other states during 2016’s election.

The total replacement cost could exceed $100 million.

But Republicans say there’s no legitimate example of an election irregularity in Pennsylvania and that counties that already use machines with a paper-based backup shouldn’t be forced to buy new machines.

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