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New Voting Systems

Why does Pennsylvania need new voting systems?

The current voting systems in Pennsylvania are approaching the end of their useful life. Most of the voting machines in use now are older than the first iPhone. Their software and hardware will soon be unsupported by manufacturers.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has called on all state and local election officials to make certain that by the 2020 presidential election every American votes on a system that produces a paper record or ballot that can be checked and verified by the voter and audited by election officials.

New machines will ensure that Pennsylvanians are voting on the most secure and accessible voting systems available and that audits of election results can be easily and accurately accomplished.

When is Pennsylvania getting new voting machines?

In April 2018, Acting Secretary of State Robert Torres informed counties they must select new voting systems that provide a paper record and meet 21st-century standards of security, auditability and accessibility no later than Dec. 31, 2019, and preferably have a system in place by the November 2019 general election.

As of October 9, 2018, one Pennsylvania county, - Susquehanna - has purchased and received delivery of new voting equipment that meets the state’s new standard, and several other counties are close to selecting new systems.

Most other counties are exploring their voting system options, examining machines and seeking public input as well as quotes from vendors. Most counties appear likely to implement new systems in 2019. Some counties, may choose to wait until the 2020 primary.

Status of new voting system certification

Any voting system selected by a county must be certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and the Pennsylvania secretary of state. The EAC and the Pennsylvania Department of State evaluate voting systems under current federal and state standards. Pennsylvania has developed new standards of security and accessibility that manufacturers must meet to achieve state certification.

Acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar certified the Dominion Voting Systems’ Democracy Suite 5.5-A (PDF) on January 17, 2019. The  Unisyn Voting Solutions OpenElect (PDF), the Election Systems & Software's EVS (PDF), and the Unisyn Voting Solutions OpenElect 2.0A2 (PDF) systems have been certified under the new standards. The Department has a list of all certified voting systems and electronic poll books at 

Another system is currently in the certification process, and testing of an additional system will begin soon. Counties will have the option to use paper ballots or voting equipment that prints a paper record so voters can verify their vote before casting their ballot.