PA legislature to look at changes to how electronic voting machines are reviewed, tested

22 February 2024- Rep. Milou Mackenzie (R-Lehigh/Montgomery/Northampton) is proud to announce the introduction of two critical pieces of legislation aimed at enhancing the integrity and functionality of Pennsylvania’s electoral processes. These bills propose significant amendments to the Pennsylvania Election Code, focusing on electronic voting systems and voting machines.

“These bills represent a significant step forward in ensuring the integrity and reliability of our electoral systems,” said Mackenzie. “By addressing concerns surrounding electronic voting systems and enhancing the examination and approval processes for voting machines, we are taking proactive measures to safeguard the democratic process in Pennsylvania.

The first proposed bill, Improved Accountability Standards for Voting Machine Manufacturers, would address concerns surrounding electronic voting systems by introducing measures to ensure transparency, accountability, and reliability in the electoral process. Key provisions of the bill include:

  • Requiring vendors of electronic voting systems to disclose any known defects to the Department of State, along with information on the impact of the defect and any corrective measures.
  • Mandating vendors to submit new disclosures if defects are identified after the initial disclosure, with penalties for non-compliance.
  • Empowering the Department of State to suspend sales, leases, or use of electronic voting systems in case of identified defects until they are resolved.
  • Imposing civil penalties on vendors for failure to disclose defects or for defects that cannot be cured, with provisions for paying penalties before resuming business.
  • Establishing procedures for investigating defects, including initiating investigations based on reasonable cause or at the request of county boards of elections.
  • Requiring the Department of State to prepare written reports of investigations and submit them to relevant legislative bodies.

The second proposed bill, Enhanced Voting Machine Certification and Pre-Election Testing Standards, would focus on enhancing the examination, approval, and preparation processes for voting machines to ensure the accuracy and integrity of elections in the Commonwealth. Key provisions of this bill include:

  • Requiring thorough examinations of voting machines by the Secretary of the Commonwealth, including testing all software and components related to the machine’s operation.
  • Mandating the employment or contracting of experts in relevant fields to conduct examinations and provide written reports.
  • Establishing protocols for the approval of changes or improvements to voting machines, ensuring compliance with state requirements before implementation.
  • Mandating the examination and approval of all electronic or electromechanical devices used in ballot casting, processing, tabulation, or voter recording.
  • Specifying requirements for voting machines, such as the immediate rejection of invalid ballots, capability for auditing, and compliance with federal guidelines.

Mackenzie expressed hope these bills will provide protections for future generations of voters and taxpayers from abuses by contracted machine/software vendors and ensure proper training and testing of the machines prior to elections.

If enacted, both bills would take effect after 60 days, with the aim of improving the security and efficiency of Pennsylvania’s electoral processes.