Proposed Updates to Voting Machine Standards Could Impact Pulaski County Election Board’s Budget

Adding a “voter verifiable paper audit trail” to Pulaski County’s voting machines could cost $45,000, according to Clerk JoLynn Behny. She discussed Indiana Senate Bill 570 with the rest of the county election board Thursday.

To meet the proposed cyber security requirements, Behny said each of the county’s 30 voting machines would have to get a printer that would allow voters to see their selections on paper before casting their ballot. It’s a reversal from the state’s previous push to go paperless, according to Behny, prompted by concerns about foreign hacking. The current version of the bill gives counties until the end of 2029 to complete the change.

Behny said adding the printers is estimated to cost $1,500 per machine, and the state is currently looking at covering 10 percent of that. She added that some other counties are planning to start saving up money, but wait until the deadline gets closer before actually making the change, in the hope that the state will increase its contribution. Behny plans to work with Auditor Laura Wheeler to set up a new line item, when discussions on the 2020 budget begin later this year.

Senate Bill 570 passed out of the Senate last month and has been referred to the House of Representatives.