Delaware is set to have new voting machines for the 2020 presidential election, with the goal of putting them in place by May’s school board elections. A task force given the responsibility of approving a contract with a vendor to replace the current machines unanimously approved the selection Tuesday, although the choice must still go before the Joint Committee on Capital Improvement. That committee will meet Monday, enabling lawmakers to review and vote on the selection of Election Systems & Software. If the contract is approved, the company will provide machines and other products, including a new database application, to the state. The cost has not been publicly released and will remain private unless the contract is finalized. Officials have up to $13 million to spend, with $3 million of that coming from the federal government and the rest coming from state funds allocated in the capital bond bill.
The new ExpressVote XL machines function similarly to the current Danaher ELECTronic 1242s, but they also incorporate a paper trail, something officials consider vital.
… [S]everal members of the public who attended Tuesday’s meeting questioned the decision, arguing the process of selecting a vendor had not been transparent and the state should consider other options.
“In terms of computers, or voting machines as they are called, many experts would not recommend machines, and most recommend a paper ballot and further, most agree a hand marked paper ballot is preferable,” Jennifer Hill, program director for the good government group Common Cause Delaware, said.
Stan Merriman criticized the task force for a “failure of imagination,” protesting the state should have better publicized the task force meetings and been willing to go with paper ballots to minimize the risk of electronic tampering.