Pennsylvania’s tight congressional special election underscores the need for states to replace aging voting machines and use paper ballots as backups to ensure the integrity of vote counts ahead of pivotal November U.S. midterm elections, election security advocates said on Wednesday. Democrat Conor Lamb led Republican Rick Saccone by only a few hundred votes out of nearly 230,000 cast in the closely watched U.S. House of Representatives election on Tuesday in western Pennsylvania. With many states using antiquated voting machines and with concerns about potential interference in U.S. elections by Russia or other actors, there is rising concern among experts about the need to safeguard American balloting.
“At the end of the day, the winners need be assured that they won and the losers need to know that they lost,” said former Pennsylvania election official Marian Schneider, president of Verified Voting, a group that advocates for auditable elections.
While there have been no issues raised about the integrity of the Pennsylvania race, election security experts said the razor-thin margin highlighted the importance of protecting voting machines from tampering, failure or human error.
“Whenever you are talking about computers, there are risks” of tampering or programming error, Schneider said.