New Money For Needed Voting Machines Unlikely In 2020

Dec 27, 2019

It’s unlikely the General Assembly will give counties more money in the 2020 session for new voting machines.

More than half the machines in Indiana don’t have a paper backup – something election security experts insist is critical. The legislature appropriated enough money in the 2019 budget to provide backups to 10 percent of the machines that need them.

Lawmakers do plan in the 2020 session to use excess surplus dollars on cash payments for some pre-approved projects – like a swine barn at the State Fairgrounds. But money for more voting machines doesn’t make the list.

READ MORE: Indiana Has Mediocre Performance For Election Integrity And Security

Gov. Eric Holcomb says that’s because Secretary of State Connie Lawson has assured him Indiana’s voting systems are secure.

“The first minute that she comes to me and says ‘We need to be doing more and this is what the cost will be,’ I become a huge advocate,” Holcomb says.

Statehouse fiscal leaders say something similar – no one’s come to them to ask for voting machine money. Still, House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) won’t rule it out.

“Don’t know that it’s been determined that it’s not, yet," Bosma says. "But we’re most concerned about managing the surplus properly.”

The 2020 session begins Jan. 6.

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