It’s Nov. 6, 2018. Election Day. More than 100,000 Delaware voters have already cast their ballots with just one hour until polls close when suddenly the state’s election system goes down. Software experts are able to quickly restore it, but it’s too late: All the votes have been wiped out. The system failure has invalidated votes all across the state, and now the integrity of the election is at stake. While unlikely, this scenario is possible, and it’s a big part of the reason why advocacy groups are urging state officials to fund the purchase of new voting machines. Delaware has about 1,600 Danaher ELECTronic 1242 voting machines, purchased in 1995. Those machines were state of the art 22 years ago, but they’re now outdated and, according to some, in desperate need of replacement. “We need a voting system that inspires public trust,” said Jennifer Hill.
Ms. Hill, the executive director of Common Cause Delaware, was one of several people who spoke Thursday at a news conference that preceded a meeting of the task force responsible for researching new machines.
Along with representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union, Delaware Alliance for Community Advancement, League of Women Voters and Sierra Club, Ms. Hill called for lawmakers to set aside funding for upgraded machines.
Delaware’s current machines do not have a voter-verified paper audit trail, making the state one of just five nationwide without a paper trail, according to the Delaware Alliance for Community Advancement.