Allegheny County has been held as a model for its handling of electronic voting testing and inspection. It’s the only county in Pennsylvania to conduct parallel testing, meaning an independent organization randomly selects machines on Election Day and simulates usage. Despite testing, some local groups aren’t convinced the machines are secure. Vote Allegheny Treasurer Secretary Audrey Glickman said the county needs to upgrade its system to one that prints a paper ballot. “Then we can have a statistically significant audit and have some means of recounting what the vote was,” Glickman said. “Right now we can’t recount the vote.”
A 2015 Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision struck down an appeal to implement printed ballots, backing the use of direct-recording voting systems.
The Elections Division inspects the county’s iVotronic DRE software several weeks before Election Day. Pennsylvania implemented the machines 10 years ago to comply with the 2002 Help America Vote Act, which was passed in response to the 2000 election difficulties.
A recent New York University School of Law study identified a number of vulnerabilities in machines like those used in Allegheny County. Among the findings, they found the systems were not designed to last long and were often unable to protect themselves from hackers.