Pennsylvania gave Lehigh County election officials a check for $380,868 to apply toward the cost of new voting machines that will partially pay the expense of new machines for the county.
Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathleen Boockvar presented a mock-up oversize check to Lehigh County Executive Phillips Armstrong in a short ceremony Sept. 12 in the Lehigh County Government Center, 17 S. Seventh St., Allentown.
Boockvar said the check is part of a packet of $14.15 million comprised of state and federal funding the state set aside in 2018 for distribution to counties for new voting systems.
Boockvar said the state recently announced the commonwealth is working to issue a bond for up to $90 million that will reimburse counties for up to 60 percent of the actual costs for new voting systems.
“You guys have been ahead of the state,” Boockvar said, lauding Lehigh County’s proactive purchase of new machines. “You started the process early. I applaud you for your voter preparations – it has been outstanding.
“I am pleased to present this check to the commissioners for the new voting system that Lehigh County voters will use for the first time in the Nov. 5 municipal election,” Boockvar said.
She said county residents can feel confident every vote will be accurately counted and securely protected by the latest election technology. Boockvar said the new machines also allow greater access for handicapped voters.
“Our new machines are a physical manifestation of our commitment to election security, integrity and the voice of voters here in Lehigh County,” Commissioner Amy Zanelli said in a prepared statement.
The machines scan a paper ballot, tabulate the results then keep the paper ballot secure until it is delivered to Chief Clerk of the Office of the Election Board Timothy Benyo. There the paper ballots can be used, if needed, for recounts or audits.
According to Boockvar, the new secure voting systems must be in place and implemented statewide no later than the 2020 primary.
According to information provided by Boockvar’s staff, at least 49 counties (73 percent) have taken official action toward purchases or leases of new voting systems. At least 53 counties (80 percent) will be using paper ballots in the November election, including 47 counties with new voting systems and six counties that have been using paper ballots.