“What is a vote worth?” Venango County, PA Election Board Chairman Craig Adams asked last week. “If the vote is counted it is priceless. If it is not counted, I don’t care what it costs. Let’s get a right.”
“After months of legal wrangling,” Marybeth Kuznik of the non-partisan Election Integrity advocacy group VotePA told The BRAD BLOG last week, Venango County’s landmark independent forensic examination of the notoriously unreliable and 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, most often touch-screen) e-voting system finally got under way. Kuznik explained that the study comes in the wake of the county having experienced “numerous reports of vote-flipping, candidates missing from screens, write-ins missing, and high undervote rates in their May 17 Primary.”
As reflected in a video report from local NBC affiliate WICU-12, posted at the end of this article, the Venango County Election Board has decided to vote on paper ballots this November, as they’ve turned their iVotronics over to two Pittsburgh College computer science professors for the forensic audit. The experts are examining the systems for free. Adams’ “I don’t care what it costs” remark flows from the county’s decision to spend up to $20,000, primarily for a high-speed optical-scanner, to count the paper ballots in this fall’s election.
The Nebraska-based ES&S (Election Systems & Software), describes itself as the world’s largest voting machine company. It’s certainly the largest e-voting vendor in the USA.
Kuznik calls the independent audit a “a huge development because it is the first time a sitting election board in Pennsylvania has granted unfettered access to a paperless iVotronic voting system for the purpose of forensic testing after problems were reported in a live election.”
She adds that the study “will be ongoing for the next several weeks,” and lauds “the enthusiastic co-operation” of the Venango County election board for the “rare” instance of such a body “when it comes to investigating electronic voting troubles.”
“The Venango County Election Board members are true heroes,” Kuznik tells us, “as are the computer scientists who are donating their services to conduct the exam.”