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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 9, 2017 01:28 PM
From: Senator Kim L. Ward
To: All Senate members
Subject: Election Integrity Legislation
I am introducing legislation to require an external performance audit of the Pennsylvania Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors (SURE system) and the process by which voter registrations records are entered and maintained.

SURE is the centralized voter registration and election management system designed to secure the accuracy and integrity of the Commonwealth's voter registration records. The job of entering new voter registrations and the maintenance of voter registration records fall to each of Pennsylvania's 67 counties.

Under current statute, the Department of State has the authority to audit the registration records of county election offices. While I have been told by the department it does work to ensure that county voter registration commissions are generating mandated list notices and applications are being properly processed and updated prior to the close of registration deadlines, no comprehensive external audit of the SURE system itself has ever been done.

The Auditor General would be task to perform the audit to:
  • Determine whether the records in SURE system are accurate in accordance with the Federal Help America Vote Act.
  • Assess the process by which voter registrations are imputed and their records are maintained for efficiency.
  • Determine whether the Web-based statewide voter registration system is protected from unauthorized access.
Federal grants issued under the Help America Vote Act will pay $1.3 million of $5.4 million the Commonwealth will spend this coming fiscal year on voter registration. However, federal funding is expected to end thereafter and the Commonwealth will be left to absorb the full cost of the system. An external audit will not only ensure our voter registration system is as accurate as possible but also look for cost-saving efficiencies moving forward. It will also go far in instilling confidence in our election process against claims of election fraud.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact my legislative director, Geri Sarfert at (717) 787-1640.

Introduced as SB762