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Tags: Pennsylvania | Voting | Systems | Election

Pennsylvania State Dept. Prohibits Third-Party Access to Voting Systems

Pennsylvania State Dept. Prohibits Third-Party Access to Voting Systems
A person holds a sign that reads "Legal Votes Only" while demonstrating outside of where votes are still being counted in Pennsylvania, on Nov. 10, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pa. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 12 July 2021 05:07 PM EDT

Pennsylvania’s acting Secretary of State has issued a directive that prohibits third-party access to the state’s electronic voting systems following a request from the state Senate to various local election boards.

Last week, state legislators sent a request to the election boards in Philadelphia, Tioga and York counties for all the cast ballots and ballot materials from the general election last November and the primary in May 2021, as well as what the Pennsylvania Department of State describes as “unprecedented and intrusive access to electronic voting equipment,” and that “in response, the Department said it would use every available avenue to prevent such disruption of the electoral process. It also reminded counties that the federal government has designated voting equipment as Critical Infrastructure, severely limiting access by outside parties.”

In a statement, Acting Secretary of State Veronica W. Degraffenreid said: "Such access by third parties undermines chain of custody requirements and strict access limitations necessary to prevent both intentional and inadvertent tampering with electronic voting systems. It also jeopardizes the security and integrity of the systems and will prevent electronic voting system vendors from affirming that the systems continue to meet Commonwealth security standards and U.S. Election Assistance Commission certification."

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro added: "We have already had two legal audits and dozens of legal opinions all stating the same thing, there was no widespread fraud in Pennsylvania. No counties should comply with these 'demands,' and if they do there will be substantial costs to counties and voters, including disclosure of personal data. 

“The Department of State's directive clearly states that turning voting machines over to third parties jeopardizes the security of future elections,” he continued. “Any county that chooses to risk the safety of our elections by complying with the demand letter will not be reimbursed for the cost of replacing voting machines, which would leave taxpayers in these counties on the hook for millions of dollars."

Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, a Republican, said in a statement that the directive “is an attack on the General Assembly’s power to review, investigate, and legislate in matters within its legislative authority, which includes Pennsylvania’s election system.”

He added, “The Legislature has clear authority—both statutorily and constitutionally—to provide oversight and issue subpoenas. This directive tramples those rights which were specifically put in place to prevent potential abuses and overreach by the Executive Branch.”

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Politics
Pennsylvania's acting Secretary of State has issued a directive that prohibits third-party access to the state's electronic voting systems following a request from the state Senate to various local election boards...
Pennsylvania, Voting, Systems, Election
396
2021-07-12
Monday, 12 July 2021 05:07 PM
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