Governor McAuliffe announces major funding proposal for new voting machines

December 31, 2014

Governor Terry McAuliffe revealed on December 15 that he will include $28 million in his budget to provide new voting machines to precincts across Virginia so all polling locations will have uniform, state-of-the-art equipment for the 2015 November elections.

Nearly 50 localities reported voting equipment issues on Election Day 2014. Currently, Virginia’s precincts use a variety of machines, some lack paper trails and others must be updated.

“Currently, counties and localities are responsible for purchasing their own voting machines,” said VACo Executive Director Jim Campbell. “This proposal will eliminate that unfunded mandate. The governor has declared the state will fully cover the cost of purchasing the new voting machines for 2,166 Virginia precincts and reimburse more than 400 precincts that have already purchased the approved machines. Besides helping localities’ budgets, hopefully this proposal will give Virginia a more effective and transparent voting process.”

Governor McAuliffe called participating in democracy as one of the “most important rights we have as citizens of this Commonwealth and country.”

“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,” Governor McAuliffe said. “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.”

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.

About $1.7 million of this funding will update Virginia’s electronic pollbooks. The governor will also include $30,000 in his budget to update the Department of Elections’ website to improve reporting for future elections.

VACo Contact: Dean Lynch

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