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Republicans tie voting machine cash to election-law changes

June 27, 2019

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Republicans who control Pennsylvania’s Legislature are offering Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf a choice to help counties afford new voting machines before next year’s presidential election.

Republicans teed up legislation Wednesday night in the House of Representatives to authorize borrowing up to $90 million to help counties underwrite a total replacement cost could exceed $100 million.

Wolf ordered counties to buy new voting machines that produce an auditable paper trail, something supported by election-integrity advocates and computer scientists. But Republicans chafed at the demand.

They’ve now packaged the borrowing authority with changes to election laws that Democratic lawmakers oppose. One provision eliminates the ballot option for voters to simply select a straight-party ticket in elections.

Democrats say that’ll benefit Republicans in down-ballot legislative elections. Republicans say it’ll make elections fairer for all political parties.

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