Report find 18 Pennsylvania counties accepted gifts from voting system vendors

Harrisburg, Pa. - As counties across Pennsylvania work to select new voting systems with a paper record by the end of the year, Auditor General Euegene DePasquale is taking a closer look into the gifts counties are receiving and whether they could potentially influence their decision to select certain voting machines.

"I want counties to make their decisions based on best interest of voters," said DePasquale. "Not on any other factors."

DePasquale asked all 67 counties to submit any gifts or trips officials have accepted or refused from voting equipment vendors since 2013. Out of 67 counties, 18 said they received small to large gifts, including York County. The York County's Department of Elections not only accepted bagels and coffee, but their travel for trips to seminars was reimbursed by vendors.

"Why if all the vendors wanted your business didn't you require them to come to you," asked DePasquale.

The state's Ethics Act requires county election officials report gifts totaling more than $249 and lodging above $599. The state's Ethics Commission is now looking into the responses by the counties, making sure everything that should have been reported was. DePasquale also calling on the state legislature to strengthen rules for accepting or reporting gifts.

"Our evidence is not that anyone violated the law," said DePasquale. "In fact I think the crime is nobody violated the law because this wasn't illegal."

The full report, including every county's response can be found here.

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