HARRISBURG – The Department of State will take the next step toward modernizing Pennsylvania’s elections by issuing an Invitation for Bid (IFB) to voting system firms.
“This IFB marks the beginning of the commonwealth’s transition to state-of-the-art voting equipment,” Acting Secretary Robert Torres said.
“The new requirements will ensure that our voting systems will provide enhanced standards of resiliency, auditability and security for Pennsylvania citizens.”
The IFB includes requirements for increased documentation, security and reporting capabilities. It follows a February directive the department sent to counties that all voting systems purchased from Feb. 9 forward must employ a voter-verifiable paper ballot or voter-verifiable paper record of votes cast by the voter.
It also reinforces enhanced standards for security, including physical security, confidentiality, data encryption, audit logging and reporting.
The IFB updates an existing state-negotiated agreement with vendors and can be used by counties to purchase voter-verifiable voting systems that meet the department’s requirements for certification.
Douglas Hill, executive director of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, welcomed the move.
“Today’s announcement gives counties guidance they need as they prepare to replace voting equipment,” Hill said.
“The work by the Department of State to accelerate certification of equipment means that counties will have available to them the latest technology that satisfies accessibility and security concerns and better enables participation by our voters.”
The department is notifying vendors that they should not plan to renew contracts in 2019. Instead, they should move to the updated agreement if they are interested in providing voting systems in Pennsylvania. Any voting system purchased from this date forward must meet the requirements of the IFB.
Counties will continue receiving maintenance and training under existing contracts until they procure new voting equipment.