New report details critical voting vulnerabilities in Pennsylvania

Ian Bush
February 03, 2019 - 4:00 am

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Pennsylvania's voter registration database was among those targeted by Russia in the run up to the 2016 election, according to the Department of Homeland Security. But a new report finds that's far from the only threat to elections in the state.

It could be a $125 million to fix, but to do nothing? David Hickton says the consequence to democracy can't be calculated.

"We cannot afford to be vulnerable like this," he said.

Hickton is one of the chairmen of the Blue Ribbon Commission on election security in Pennsylvania, which since May has picked apart the vulnerabilities in the state's systems.

He says the voting machines used in four out of five precincts need to be replaced.

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“Use ballots that are marked directly by the voter -- paper ballots, or for those who are disabled, ballots with ballot-marking devices,” he said. “These ballots than need to be scanned by an optical scanner.”

After which a "risk-limiting audit" would detect any irregularities.

A change to the voter rolls would trigger an email or letter to the person registered -- 'is this really you?'

The commission recommends more money be put toward this from Washington and Harrisburg, and "creative financing" -- like bond issues -- be considered to help cover the costs.

"This is a civic imperative of first urgency,” he said. “We need to do this."

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