House State Government Committee hearing highlights safety and security of PA voting machines

HARRISBURG, March 10 – The PA House State Government Committee held its fifth of 14 hearings Wednesday on the 2020 general election, which has been settled for months now. The hearing was co-chaired by state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., who was filling in for the committee’s Democratic chairwoman, state Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware.

This hearing focused on the certification and operation of voting machines, which have been subject to unfounded claims of fraud by Republican members of the General Assembly. Election officials testified that Pennsylvania’s voting systems allowed the state to hold a free and fair election last November.

“The testimony that we heard from the panelists should allay any election concerns that were manufactured in people’s minds because of the lies that were told,” Kenyatta said. “We heard Pennsylvania election officials say with a high degree of confidence that the voting machines currently in place are the most secure and accurate machines that have ever been used in the Commonwealth.”

The House State Government Committee heard from Jonathan Marks, the deputy secretary for Elections and Commissions at the Department of State. The deputy secretary walked through the process of certifying the state’s voting machines. Marks testified that voting systems are first tested by federal officials before going to the state for further testing. If a voting machine does not pass testing on the federal level, it doesn’t advance to the Department of State.

The hearing featured testimony from Tim Benyo, the chief clerk of Elections and Voter Registration for Lehigh County. Benyo, a veteran in the election field, also highlighted the extensive security of the voting machines before, during and after an election. Voting machines are under constant video surveillance and security measures to make sure no one can tamper with them. As previously noted, pre-election and post-election testing is performed on the machines to make sure the machines are problem-free.

“These hearings are important because they allow the public to have confidence our elections,” Kenyatta said. “It gives voters greater faith in their democracy, greater faith in knowing that their vote is accurately counted, and greater faith that the majority and the will of the people is respected.”

The House State Government Committee will host its sixth hearing on the 2020 general election on Thursday, March 18. The topic of that hearing will be mail-in and absentee ballots.