Voting system update understood; the state should have funded it

After watching the national embarrassment Florida brought on itself with questionable voting counts in several elections over the past two decades, there is no quarreling with efforts to make sure that does not happen in Pennsylvania.

To that end, the state has mandated that all counties replace their voting machines with state-approved systems that have a paper trail with the results at the ballot box.

The Lycoming County commissioners have approved a $1,007,896 contract with Clear Ballot to make that happen in time for this November’s General Election.

The vote was 2-1, with Commissioner Tony Mussare voting against the contract because it did not address voter eligibility issues. While that is a valid concern, we believe it to be a separate issue.

However, the funding of the voting machines is a question mark. It is unknown how much, if any, financial aid counties will receive to pay for the voting machine update.

In our view, this is inexcusable. If the state is going to mandate the voting machine update, it should be paying for it.

We understand the idea of standardizing state voting and the paper trail ballot, even though there were no discernible problems with the Lycoming County voting machines. This system of a paper ballot being scanned will secure the county and state from voter fraud or hacking.

The sanctity of a fair, thorough and accountable voting system trumps everything.

But counties don’t have millions of dollars laying around, just waiting for a reason to spend.

The state is on the right track in coming up with a standardized voting system that can be verified in an orderly process, but it should have funded the costs.