The Department of State is requiring all Pennsylvania counties have voting machines that leave a paper record in place in time for the 2020 election.
The auditor general is now looking at whether county officials are accepting bribes from the companies that sell the new machines. Those gifts range from snacks and coffees to all-expense-paid trips. The state’s auditor general now calling out those officials who accepted those gifts.
In December, it was discovered that Luzerne County Election Director Marisa Crispell accepted trips from a vendor that provided the county voting machines. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale then decided to look at whether similar gifts were being accepted by county officials elsewhere.
He says, “Officials who are making decisions about spending tax payer dollars should not accept anything of value from companies that they are asking for their business.”
In all, officials in 18 counties reported accepting gifts from vendors competing to sell them new voting machines. They include paid lunches for officials in York County, dinners and amusement park trips in Warren County, thousands paid in travel and lodging for Berks County officials, and in Cameron County, meals at high-end restaurants as well as distillery and wine tours.
DePasquale says, “I don’t know what a wine tour has to do with the quality of a voting system.”
The auditor general now calling on changes to be made moving forward, “Our evidence is not that anyone violated the law. In fact, I think the crime is that nobody did violate the law, because this wasn’t illegal.”
Eugene DePasquale asking for the state to strengthen its rules for accepting and reporting gifts and an update to disclosure laws.
And, he also says he is sending his findings to the State Ethics Commission for them to review and is urging auditors general across the country to look at the issue in their states as well.