In a major victory for free and fair elections, Pennsylvania’s acting secretary of state, Robert Torres, announced today that the state would have until the end of 2019 to move all 67 counties to paper-backed voting machines.
“We want to bring about the system upgrades so Pennsylvania voters are voting on the most secure and auditable equipment as promptly and feasibly as possible,” Torres said in a statement.
Per Buzzfeed, “Pennsylvania, the largest swing state where a substantial number of voting machines leave no auditable paper trail, making it impossible to verify if voting tabulations have been altered, says it will fix that problem in time for the 2020 presidential election.”
According to Verified Voting, a nonprofit that tracks voting equipment across the country, 83% of Pennsylvanians live in districts with no paper records of their vote. This came into play in last month’s special election for Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district. Despite the fact that Republican Rick Saccone lost to Democrat Conor Lamb by only a few hundred votes, there was no way to audit the vote count, rendering a recount useless, as it would have turned out the same result.
The decision is a blow to Russia, which the Intelligence Community has been unanimous in warning will target the 2018 elections and beyond. By implementing paper-backed voting, their efforts to cyber hack voting machine will be kneecapped.
More importantly, however, the announcement is a blow to Trump who, despite the IC’s warnings of continued Russian interference, has not only been soft on Russia, but unilaterally failed to impose sanctions on Moscow despite having been passed on a bipartisan basis by lawmakers in response the Russian hacking campaign during the 2016 election.
While it is still unclear how many districts will replace their voting machines by the 2018 midterm elections, the fact that voters can be assured their votes are accurate in the next presidential election is a massive step in the right direction.