In 1842, James Shellito of Sadsbury Township was upset with the procedure used by the Crawford County Democratic Party for choosing its nominees. He proposed a change that instead of a designated few choosing the party’s nominees for the general election in a behind-closed-doors session, all the registered Democrats should be allowed to choose the nominee. The matter was put to a vote and others agreed with Shellito. Thus, the “primary election” as it is known today was born. The primary election is defined as the election held by the two major political parties (Republican and Democrat) to choose their respective nominees for the fall election. Although states have primary elections, the types of primary elections differ from state to state.
Articles about voting issues in Pennsylvania.
In Mercer County’s efforts to purchase a new voting system, the incumbent got first crack at displaying its wares. Omaha-based ES&S promoted its next-generation election machines for county commissioners and elections officials Thursday at the courthouse. Mercer County has used the ES&S-manufactured iVotronic machines for more than 10 years. Mercer, and Pennsylvania’s other 66 counties, are under an order from Gov. Tom Wolf to adopt voting systems that provide paper records of individual votes cast to alleviate concerns of election tampering in time for the 2020 elections. The iVotronic device does not meet that standard. All of the election options presented Thursday issue paper records of individual votes or read paper ballots, or both. Kevin Kerrigan, a senior sales engineer for ES&S, said the devices are designed to function for the long-term. “You’re going to buy this stuff and expect it to work for at least 10 years,” he said.
Pennsylvania: Anti-gerrymandering bill amended by Senate GOP; Democrats call it ‘poison pill’ | Philadelphia Inquirer
With time running out to alter how Pennsylvania’s political maps will be drawn in 2021, Republicans in the state Senate made a dramatic change to a redistricting bill Tuesday that prompted key activists to pull their support and begin lobbying against it. One day before the bill came up for a final vote in the chamber, State Sen. Ryan Aument (R., Lancaster) introduced an amendment that would allow voters to decide whether appellate judges — including state Supreme Court justices — should be elected from regional districts rather than statewide. Democrats described it as a “poison pill” and an attempt to retaliate against Democratic state Supreme Court justices who just five months earlier voted to overturn the state’s congressional lines on the ground that they had been gerrymandered to favor Republicans.
Pennsylvania: After 2016 Russian hack attempts on voter data, registration system to be audited | Philadelphia Inquirer
Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said Monday that his office will evaluate the security of the state’s voter-registration system, a target of Russian hackers before the 2016 presidential election. Pennsylvania was one of 21 states whose election data were sought by Russian hackers, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said last year. Though there was no evidence of a breach, DePasquale said, the revelation prompted him and others to test the system’s security. “This is something that has been talked about both locally and nationally for quite some time,” DePasquale said. “I believe it is the right time to make sure we are doing everything we can to make sure our voting system in Pennsylvania is secure.”
Pennsylvania: Replacing York County’s outdated voting machines: Looming deadline, big bill | York Dispatch
As the November election approaches, York County’s voting machines reportedly are outdated, vulnerable to hacking and lacking a commonly used safety feature that might reveal meddling or mistakes. In fact, most Pennsylvania counties are in the same boat, according to Department of State, which is giving them until 2020 to upgrade their machines. The switch won’t be cheap, and no one is sure who’s going end up footing the bill, estimated to be about $125 million statewide. York County’s machines are 12 years old and replaced lever-operated voting booths that had been in use for more than half a century. … The risks associated with York County’s machines range in severity — from simple programming errors like the county saw last year, to hacking that can change vote counts, according to Marian Schneider, president of Verified Voting and former deputy secretary for Elections and Voting under the Wolf administration.
The state Auditor General is launching a review of Pennsylvania’s voting and registration process, following up on concerns Russians attempted to interfere in the 2016 elections. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said the review will focus on the security of the Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors–or SURE–system, which tracks registration data on the state and county level. He noted, there’s no evidence foreign hackers successfully breached Pennsylvania’s voting and registration systems. However, he said, “there is zero question that Russians tried to hack it and to interfere in the 2016 election process in Pennsylvania, and at least 20 other states” according to the US Department of Homeland Security.
Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati is throwing his weight behind a few measures that have, of late, been more commonly championed by Democrats. The top Republican official, of Cameron County, said in a wide-ranging speech Monday that he wants to see the redistricting process overhauled, and also switch the commonwealth to open primaries. Scarnati made it clear, his anger over the state Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate and redraw Pennsylvania’s congressional map hasn’t abated. But in the midst of reproaching the justices for having “trampled, shredded, and burned” the constitution, he said he knows the process has to change–though he added, it’ll be a challenge.
The storm that ripped through the region at about 3 p.m. knocked out power at several polling sites, leaving voters in one Northumberland County polling place to vote by flashlight. While generators were used at several polling sites to keep voting machines running, the voting area in Jordan Township had to employ flashlights and paper ballots, said director of elections Alisha Elliott. The storm did not deter voters from coming out, though. Elliott said turnout in primary elections during a non-presidential election is usually between 15 and 17 percent, but Tuesday’s turnout was about 20 percent. Turnout in Union County topped 25 percent, besting the 18 percent prediction director of elections Greg Katherman put forth before any ballots were returned at the county government center.
With the Pennsylvania primary underway, state officials are working with the federal Department of Homeland Security to protect voting systems from hacking. Senior Department of Homeland Security official Chris Krebs visited Harrisburg and spoke at a press briefing on election security. In his current role, Krebs is performing the duties of the undersecretary for DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate. Krebs said there’s never been successful election hacking in Pennsylvania, and he’s working with the Pennsylvania Department of State to keep it that way. His agency has been helping to identify and fix weaknesses in Pennsylvania’s voting system.
As midterm votes are being cast in Pennsylvania and across the country, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is playing catch-up. Pennsylvania is one of at least 17 states where election officials have requested on-site risk assessments of their election systems. Nearly half those reviews had not been completed by mid-May, including the one for Pennsylvania, which holds its primary election on Tuesday, May 15. A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of State told KDKA-TV the security review will not be completed until June at the earliest. A security review by DHS typically takes two weeks to complete.