Today Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that he is including $28 million in his budget to provide new voting machines to precincts across Virginia so all polling places will have uniform, state-of-the-art equipment for the 2015 November elections. On Election Day 2014, 49 Virginia localities reported voting equipment issues, and currently Virginia precincts are using a wide variety of machines that are often outdated and lack paper trails.
Governor McAuliffe will also include in his budget $30,000 per fiscal year to update the Department of Elections’ website to ensure reliable reporting for future elections.
“Participating in our democracy is one of the most important rights we have as citizens of this Commonwealth and country,” said Governor McAuliffe.“However, we cannot expect Virginians to come to the polls on Election Day if we cannot ensure that their votes will be counted correctly and in a timely manner. The problems Virginia encountered on Election Day this year were unacceptable, which is why I have taken unprecedented steps to replace all legacy voting equipment in the Commonwealth with state-of-the art machines that have paper trails and will update our Department of Elections website.”
Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections Edgardo Cortes added, “This investment will increase transparency and accountability in our election processes. It will also reduce inefficiencies by allowing the Department of Elections to provide uniform training to all election officials, volunteers, and monitors since all localities will have the same voting technology.”
Congressman Scott Rigell, who joined Governor McAuliffe for the announcement stated, “I applaud Governor McAuliffe for his leadership in protecting Virginians’ trust in our election processes. Many of our friends and neighbors in Virginia experienced significant challenges when voting this past November and no American voter should ever feel disenfranchised at the polls. These important investments will ensure a more effective, transparent, and streamlined voting process in the Commonwealth.”
The Governor is proposing a one-time investment of $28 million in Virginia Public Building Authority bonds to replace all legacy voting machines in Virginia with digital-scan voting machines that have paper trails. Included in that $28 million is $1.7 million to update Virginia’s electronic pollbooks. Currently, localities are responsible for purchasing their own voting machines, however, the state will fully cover the cost of purchasing these new voting machines for 2,166 precincts across Virginia. The investment will also reimburse 401 precincts that have already purchased the approved type of machine.