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Trump meeting with Putin spurs voting audit in Pa.

July 18, 2018 Digital Media Exclusive

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State officials, in an attempt to bolster voting security, have ordered that all counties have a signed contract by the end of 2019 with a company that provides voting systems with a paper ballot or paper receipt system.

In the wake the FBI's contention that Russian hackers targeted the voting systems of 21 states in the 2016 election, state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is extending his audit of Pennsylvania's voting system.

“Based on the indictments unveiled last week against Russians who conspired to interfere with our 2016 election and revelations that stolen material about election candidates was distributed in Pennsylvania and other states, I am expanding the scope of my audit outreach to protect Pennsylvania's election system,” DePasquale said in a Tuesday news conference streamed on social media.

Shari Brewer, the county bureau of elections director, said she is open to any scrutiny.

“Everything we do is pretty much transparent,” Brewer said. “If we are doing something wrong, fine. Tell us so we can correct it.”

She said state officials, in an attempt to bolster voting security, have ordered that all counties have a signed contract by the end of 2019 with a company that provides voting systems with a paper ballot or paper receipt system.

While DePasquale feels President Donald Trump's “embarrassing display” in Helsinki, in which the President cast aspersions on the FBI's capability, behooves the states to ensure their own voting systems are secure, Brewer is skeptical.

She said those who push for voting systems that produce a paper trail to prevent hacking makes the hype worse by inflating people's fears.

“If they really want to increase security, they should change the way we administrate elections so we can do this more efficiently,” Brewer said.

Read Wednesday's Butler Eagle for the full story about what changes the voting audit will bring.

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Paula Grubbs

Paula Grubbs

Paula Grubbs is a Butler County native who has been with the Butler and Cranberry Eagle newspapers since June 2000. Grubbs has covered the Mars School District and Middlesex Township for over 20 years with the Eagle and her former employer, the Cranberry Journal. She also covers Adams Township, Evans City and Mars in addition to events and incidents throughout Southwestern Butler County as assigned. Grubbs has taken the lead at the Cranberry Eagle in reporting on shale gas development, which has been a hotly debated topic in the recent past, both locally and nationally. A 1979 graduate of Butler Senior High School and a 1994 graduate of Geneva College, Grubbs has won a Golden Quill and four Keystone state awards, plus an award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Grubbs enjoys following the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers, volunteers with the Connoquenessing Creek Cleanup each summer, and loves spending time outdoors and bird watching at her Penn Township home. Grubbs is the daughter of James R. Davis Sr., of Center Township, and the late Maxine Davis. She has two grown children, Jacqueline and Thomas.