Legislation headed toward the governor’s desk in Pennsylvania on Tuesday would deliver the biggest changes to state election laws in decades and provide aid to counties for much of the cost of new voting machines as a bulwark against hacking in next year’s presidential election.
In a compromise package negotiated behind closed doors over the last four months, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf secured some of his priorities to increase voting access, including allowing any voter to mail in a ballot and moving voter-registration deadlines closer to the election.
In exchange, Republicans who control the state Legislature dropped their opposition to Wolf’s insistence that counties buy new voting machines and secured their top priority, eliminating the ballot option for straight-party voting.
Counties, meanwhile, will get $90 million in aid to offset the costs of buying the new machines ahead of an election in which Pennsylvania will be one of the nation’s premier presidential battlegrounds.