The Associated Press reports Pennsylvania's governor has vetoed legislation that carried $90 million to help counties in the state buy new voting machines before the 2020 presidential election as the bill also ended up ordering changes to election laws.

PennDOT photo: Pa. Governor Tim Wolf
PennDOT photo: Pa. Governor Tim Wolf

In a statement, Governor Tom Wolf (D) said he remained committed to helping counties pay for voting machines. No word on how to get the money without approval from the Legislature, which is controlled by Republicans.

Last year, Governor Wolf began the push to replace voting machines after federal authorities warned Pennsylvania and at least 20 other states that they were targeted by Russian hackers during the last presidential election.

More than half of Pennsylvania's 67 counties have moved to replace their voting systems to systems that include voter-verifiable paper backups that are widely embraced by election integrity advocates and computer scientists.

The bill that was vetoed July 5 authorized Wolf's administration to borrow up to $90 million to help counties foot an expected over 100 million dollar bill for machine replacement but it was also lumped into several election law changes before being passed by the Legislature last week, barely hours after Republicans unveiled the new combo plan.

The AP reports one of the bill's provisions eliminates the straight-party ticket voting option on ballots. Wolf said eliminating it could lead to voter confusion and longer lines at polls and Democrats had argued that it is designed to benefit down-ballot Republican candidates.

Wolf criticized another provision in the bill as weakening the ability of the state and counties to quickly mount a large-scale replacement of voting machines by requiring it to be studied by a commission for 180 days.

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