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House Republicans Reject More Money For Voting Machine Needs

Lauren Chapman
/
IPB News

House Republicans this week voted down Democrats’ attempts to help ensure Indiana’s voting machines are more secure in the 2020 election.

More than half of Indiana’s 92 counties have voting machines without a paper backup. Election security experts say those backups are critical to electoral integrity.

The General Assembly budgeted $10 million last year to help upgrade. But that amount only covers about 10 percent of the machines that need it. And they plan to get to the rest of them by 2030.

READ MORE: Lawson Says Lawmakers Wouldn't Provide Election Security Money She Asked For

House Democrats offered an amendment to force the Holcomb administration to find another $10 million to upgrade voting machines right away. House Republicans – like Rep. Tim Wesco (R-Osceola) – said no.

“Frankly, $10 million’s not enough. It will take more than that over the course of the next nine years," Wesco says. "We just need to stick with the plan that we adopted last year with the $10 million that was appropriated and look to the needs that we need in future budget years.”

Rep. Carey Hamilton (D-Indianapolis) says waiting 10 years to fully upgrade the machines is a mistake.

“Providing secure elections based on the best available technology that we know exists, that we know the Secretary [of State] could utilize in an efficient way before November elections is the right thing for us to do,” Hamilton says.

There is an ongoing federal lawsuit trying to force some counties to add paper trails to their voting machines.

Contact Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.