Senate State Gov't Committee meets in the Capitol

Tony Romeo/KYW Newsradio

Lawmakers buck Wolf voting machine replacement mandate

April 14, 2019 - 4:00 am

HARRISBURG, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) -- A state Senate committee has advanced legislation that seeks to reign in Gov. Tom Wolf’s directive that counties replace their voting machines in time for the 2020 elections.  

Counties will have to select voting machines with a paper trail by the end of the year.

However, the Senate State Government Committee has advanced a bill that would delay the mass decertification of voting machines until lawmakers and the governor can agree to a replacement plan and how to pay for it.

Republican Mike Folmer, the committee chairman, says a hearing was held on the legislation.

“My takeway from the hearing and the many meetings I’ve had on the issue is that the Department of State’s plans were not well conceived and implementation was even worse,” he said.

Anthony Williams, the ranking Democrat on the committee, says the bill would prevent the Department of State from addressing problems with a voting machine.

“The single biggest most problematic part of the bill -- if a massive flaw were discovered in three years, this bill would render the department helpless,” he said.

Williams says the bill could result in undermining the integrity of an election. Backers of the bill say the same could happen under the administration’s plan.