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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: February 21, 2019 12:07 PM
From: Representative Robert F. Matzie
To: All House members
Subject: Conducting elections using only paper ballots
One person, one vote.

A concept so simple, yet so profound. It is the foundation, the bedrock of a free and democratic society. The ability to vote and elect our governing officials is the most basic tenet of American representative democracy. Any interference or tampering of elections, by entities either foreign or domestic, undermines this core principle.

Disturbing events from recent elections and new analysis have cast a dark cloud over the security of our Commonwealth’s voting systems.

In the 2016 election, Pennsylvania’s voter registration system was targeted by hackers.

Just last month, an independent, bipartisan Blue Ribbon Commission on Pennsylvania Election Security released their findings, concluding that a primary reason Pennsylvania’s elections are particularly at risk is because the bulk of our voting machines are easily susceptible to hacking and manipulation with no way to verify the results for accuracy.

Those machines use mostly a mix of paper and electronic technologies, the vast majority of which are antiquated with no way to double check vote totals.

So how do we make our elections safer and ensure as much accuracy as possible? My answer - go “back to the future” and return to all paper ballots. I am introducing legislation to do just that.

Other states do it already. 21 others to be exact.

Governor Wolf has informed Pennsylvania's counties that he wants them to replace their electronic voting systems with machines that leave a verifiable paper trail by the end of 2019. I applaud the Governors’ intent, but this won’t solve the problem. The simple reality is that electronic voting systems can easily be hacked, no matter what security measures are put into place.

So take the electronics out of the equation and use only paper ballots. I am also proposing that any costs for the changeover come from the PA Department of State and not fall on our counties.

As the elected representatives in state government, it is our duty to try to make certain that those registered to vote have the ability to do so, and that our constituent’s votes be counted for the candidate for which they are cast. By requiring paper ballots, we have an opportunity to bring confidence back to our election process.

To be clear, paper ballots will not eliminate any and all potential issues. ANY system will have some flaws and mistakes will be made. But a paper ballot can’t be hacked. That is a big step forward.

And sometimes, the best way to move forward is to take a step back.

Please join me by co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB765