Pennsylvania

Articles about voting issues in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania: As election officials delay Philadelphia voting machines decision, activists press for answers | Philadelphia Inquirer

Advocates of paper ballots cheered the news late Tuesday that the Philadelphia city commissioners have delayed their selection of new voting machines, but found themselves frustrated Wednesday when officials said they had no new information to provide. “The only thing we know now is that our message, to some degree, has been heard, otherwise I do believe that we would have gotten a decision today and probably not the one that would have been most appropriate and prudent,” said Stephen Strahs, one of a core group of activists who have shown up for meetings and held rallies. “But where this goes from here, I have no idea. My hope is that there’s going to be a process of reconsideration.” Strahs and a handful of others attended a commissioners meeting Wednesday — for which a decisive vote had been scheduled — but left without any clarity on a process they say has been opaque. The commissioners did not say anything about the machines when pressed by the activists on the decision timeline.

Full Article: As election officials delay Philly voting machines decision, activists press for answers.

Pennsylvania: Days after city and state watchdogs criticize process, decision on Philadelphia’s new voting machines hits road bump | Philadelphia Inquirer

The Philadelphia city commissioners have postponed a vote scheduled for Wednesday on acquiring a new voting-machine system, delaying a process that has drawn criticism for its speed and lack of transparency. The commissioners were awaiting a confidential committee’s evaluation of bids to supply new systems — which are required — but had not received a final recommendation by late Tuesday, resulting in the delay. “The selection committee made its recommendations to the Procurement Department for additional negotiations of price and other terms,” the commissioners said in a statement Tuesday night. The city’s selection process has come under fire, with city and state officials joining activists in raising concerns about transparency and speed.

Full Article: Days after city and state watchdogs criticize process, decision on Philly’s new voting machines hits road bump.

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Ignores Cybersecurity and Disability Access in Voting System Selection | WhoWhatWhy

Philadelphia is about to replace its aging voting equipment. This would be good news, except that the city’s election commission has omitted cybersecurity and disability access as relevant considerations in its Request for Proposals (RFP) to prospective vendors. The three-member commission appears poised to select as Philadelphia’s primary voting system the ExpressVote XL ballot-marking device, which the state of Pennsylvania has panned — on the issue of disability access. Procuring such a system would fly in the face of the consensus opinion among independent cybersecurity election experts, who recommend hand-marked paper ballots (counted on scanners or by hand) for most voters, not ballot-marking devices.

Full Article: Philly Ignores Cybersecurity and Disability Access in Voting System Selection - WhoWhatWhy.

Pennsylvania: Controversy swirls around new Philadelphia city voting system | WHYY

Philadelphia’s three city commissioners, who run local elections, may announce the selection of a new voting system as soon as Wednesday, and it may leave some disappointed. “We’re worried the city commissioners are going to pick a voting system that is not only very expensive, but not a good system for security,” said Rich Garella of the group Citizens for Better Elections. “It has poor access for disabled people. It’s a bad choice.” The state is requiring all counties to get new voting machines this year that generate paper ballot backups. City commissioners are mum about what kind of voting system they might recommend at their Wednesday meeting, but Garella and State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said the city’s selection process seems tilted toward a particular system and a single vendor. … That vendor is Omaha-based Election Systems & Software, known as ES&S, the largest manufacturer of voting systems in the country. The ES&S Express Vote XL system is the only one sold in the U.S. that shows voters all candidates for all races on one electronic screen.

Full Article: Controversy swirls around new Philadelphia city voting system : Politics & Policy : WHYY.

Pennsylvania: Paper chase: Fearing hacked election, officials scramble ahead of 2020 to bolster security | WHYY

A bitter cold snap in Erie last week didn’t keep away scores of people from visiting the city’s lakeside library last week, checking out the next generation in voting machines as county officials from across the state scramble with a new voting security mandate. Many, like Joe Gallagher, were poll workers who could be using the machines a little more than a year from now. Gallagher said he came out of “curiosity about the integrity of systems we’re putting into place. There are always some windows open for error.” Pennsylvania plans to close at least one of those windows, replacing every voting machine used in the state with machines that retain a paper record.

Full Article: Paper chase: Fearing hacked election, Pa. officials scramble ahead of 2020 to bolster security : Keystone Crossroads : Politics & Policy : WHYY.

Pennsylvania: County election officials say Governor’s budget falls short for new voting machines | Philadelphia Inquirer

County election officials have one word for Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed Pennsylvania state budget and its $15 million for new, more secure voting machines. “It’s very disappointing,” said Philadelphia City Commissioner Lisa Deeley, a Democrat who chairs the election agency. “I am deeply disappointed in the numbers being proposed,” said Forrest K. Lehman, elections director in Lycoming County. “That was a bit disappointing today,” said Jeff Greenburg, elections director for Mercer County. The problem, they and others said, is that the proposed $15 million makes but a small dent in the estimated $125 million to $150 million cost for counties to comply with a state order to replace their voting machines by 2020 with modern, more secure models. Wolf is requesting that the $15 million continue for five years, for a total of $75 million, and a spokesperson said the governor is committed to seeing that staggered funding become reality while also working on other funding options. “We can’t bank on that. Let me put it that way,” Greenburg said.

Full Article: County election officials say Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget falls short for new voting machines.

Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania dedicates cash to election security, but does it need more fast? | Politico

Pennsylvania’s governor on Tuesday announced that he would dedicate $75 million to voting technology upgrades over the next five years, but some election security activists aren’t pleased with the incremental approach in one of the highest-profile states still using paperless voting machines. Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2019 budget gives counties $15 million to help them buy paper systems and promises $60 million more over the following four years. Last April, the state required counties to replace paperless machines by the end of 2019. The new funding pledge wasn’t enough for Verified Voting, a leading election security watchdog group. Marian Schneider, the group’s president, said in a statement that Wolf’s budget “falls short of providing the resources counties need to implement best election security practices.”

Full Article: Pennsylvania dedicates cash to election security, but does it need more fast? - POLITICO.

Pennsylvania: Specious claims dog Pennsylvania’s noncitizen voter search | Associated Press

Two Pennsylvania state lawmakers are making a disputed claim in a long-running, and possibly futile, effort by elections officials to determine how many non-U.S. citizens had registered to vote over the years. On Tuesday, the lawmakers, Republican state Reps. Daryl Metcalfe and Garth Everett, issued a statement saying there had been confirmation that 11,198 foreign nationals had illegally registered to vote in Pennsylvania. But that is not what state election officials said. The Pennsylvania Department of State, which oversees elections, first reported in July that it had identified 11,198 registered voters with some indicator they may not have been a citizen. The department did not give a specific period of time for when those people registered, but said it searched every record in its database. All the names turned up in a search of the state driver license database; Pennsylvania allows residents to register to vote while getting their license, and election officials reported a flaw in that system in 2016. That’s not where it ends.

Full Article: Specious claims dog Pennsylvania’s noncitizen voter search | pennlive.com.

Pennsylvania: State’s voting machines pose ‘clear and present danger,’ warns election security commission | StateScoop

A 21-member panel of elected officials, former U.S. Justice department officers and nonprofit leaders convened last year by a University of Pittsburgh research institute to review Pennsylvania’s election systems released its final report Tuesday, recommending the state move as quickly as possible to replace its touchscreen voting machines and implement stronger cybersecurity procedures to protect the statewide voter registration database. Pennsylvania and the federal government, the report reads, should help the state’s 67 counties purchase new voting systems before the 2020 presidential election, if not before elections for local offices later this year. “Given the clear and present danger that these paperless machines pose, replacing the systems with those that employ voter-marked paper ballots should be the most pressing priority for Pennsylvania officials to secure the Commonwealth’s elections,” the report reads.

Full Article: State's voting machines pose 'clear and present danger,' warns Pennsylvania election security commission.

Pennsylvania: Commission recommends Pennsylvania security measures for elections | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Pennsylvania lawmakers and county leaders must move quickly to secure the state’s election infrastructure in advance of the 2020 presidential election, an independent bipartisan commission said Tuesday. The Blue Ribbon Commission on Pennsylvania’s Election Security recommended that the state and federal government provide money to help underwrite the costs for counties facing a major investment to replace electronic voting machines with machines that incorporate voter-verified paper ballots. Although they found no evidence that Pennsylvania elections had been hacked, commission co-chairmen David Hickton, a former U.S. attorney who founded the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security, and Grove City College President Paul McNulty, a former deputy U.S. attorney general, said the threats to election security are great. “We have little doubt that foreign adversaries will increase their efforts in the lead-up to the presidential election in 2020. The persistence and sophistication of these actors are only increasing.

Full Article: Commission recommends Pennsylvania security measures for elections | TribLIVE.

Pennsylvania: State OKs new Dominion voting machine, but shutdown could delay use in Montgomery County | The Intelligencer

The Dominion Voting Systems model approved by the Department of State is the latest approval as counties expected to replace digital-only voting machines in time for 2020 election. While the Department of State approved a fourth new voting machine — the one Montgomery County hopes to roll out at the polls in May — its final federal approval is tied up in the partial government shutdown. The machine, Dominion Voting Systems’ Democracy Suite 5.5-A model, creates paper copies of ballots and is part of the state’s push away from digital-only ballot machines. It is one of at least five similar machines expected to be approved this year as counties update voting system before the 2020 general election, according to a department news release. Bucks and Montgomery counties are among many jurisdictions using machines storing ballots entirely by digital memory, which former Acting Secretary of State Robert Torres said was less secure than machines that left a “paper trail.”

Full Article: State OKs new voting machine, but shutdown could delay use in Montco.

Pennsylvania: Federal shutdown ties up new voting machines for Montgomery County | Philadelphia Inquirer

Montgomery County officials thought they were ahead of the game with their plan to have a paper-ballot voting system in place for the primary election in May.

Now, the partial federal government shutdown has left that plan in limbo — the voting machines the county wants to use have not received final federal certification. If the federal government doesn’t reopen soon, those machines won’t be in place for the primary. “It’s stunning,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, the Democrat representing the 4th District. While federal workers and their families are hurt the most, she said, the shutdown has begun to bite those who need federal services: “And now we’re rippling out to the notion of the protection of our vote? It’s really staggering.” County officials said they’re still hoping for the best.

Full Article: Federal shutdown ties up new voting machines for Montgomery County.

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia officials look to make changes to county voting system | KYW

Philadelphia needs new voting machines, and they need them fast. But before officials settle on a new device, they are asking for the public’s input. Gov. Tom Wolf wants every county throughout the state to purchase a voting system with a verifiable paper trail, and officials in Philadelphia want their system to be in place by year’s end. “Security experts say that the best kind of machine is something that is air gapped from the Internet. They found that hand marked paper ballots are the best and that’s because there’s very little technology between the voter and the actual vote,” said Tim Brown, who joined a dozen other Philadelphians Thursday to give their suggestions on what they want from a new voting system at a Philadelphia City Commissioners’ comment session. 

Full Article: Philadelphia officials look to make changes to county voting system | KYW.

Pennsylvania: Election reform subject of many bills in Harrisburg | Reading Eagle

There are plenty of ideas for election reform floating around the state, including making it easier to vote, registering more voters and redefining who draws district lines. Pennsylvania lawmakers plan to introduce more than 20 bills this session to reshape the state’s election rules. Sen. Lawrence M. Farnese Jr., a Philadelphia Democrat, plans to offer a bill that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to preregister to vote. When preregistered, an individual would be automatically registered to vote in the first election after he or she turns 18. Farnese’s memo on the bill says 22 states already allow for preregistration before age 18. … Republican Sen. Pat Stefano of Fayette County aims to develop a secure online system for military and overseas voters to return their absentee ballots electronically with a bill he plans to reintroduce.

Full Article: Election reform subject of many bills in Harrisburg.

Pennsylvania: Counties given new option for voting machine | The Sentinel

In April, the Pennsylvania Department of State informed counties that they must have voting machines that provide a paper record of each vote as a matter of election integrity. Paper ballots provide for more accurate and reliable post-election audits compared to direct recording electronic voting machines, like those used in Cumberland County, according to the Department of State. Gov. Tom Wolf earmarked $13.5 million in federal funds to help counties buy compliant machines, and the state is required to provide a 5 percent match to those funds, leaving more than $14 million available to counties. The Wolf administration said it wants new machines to be in place by the May 2020 primary.

Full Article: Where it Stands: Counties given new option for voting machine | The Sentinel: News | cumberlink.com.

Pennsylvania: National experts collaborate at Penn State to address election security | Penn State University

On Dec. 3, dozens of experts from across the country met at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center for the first Penn State Symposium on Election Security. The event was co-hosted by the College of Engineering, Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs, as well as the Penn State Institute for Networking and Security Research and the Institute for CyberScience. The symposium allowed for experts from disciplines as diverse as public policy and cybersecurity to collaborate on solutions to election security threats. “This event brought together some of the thought leaders in elections security from around the nation, and highlighted the problems and importance of vigilance in protecting our democracy,” said Patrick McDaniel, director, Institute for Network and Security Research, and one of the event’s organizers. “It also led to concrete plans for taking action in the future, in which Penn State will play a central role.”

Full Article: National experts collaborate at Penn State to address election security | Penn State University.

Pennsylvania: Getting New Voting Machines Is ‘Right Thing,’ Governor Says | Associated Press

It’s the “right thing” for every Pennsylvania county to buy new voting machines in time for the 2020 presidential election to give voters confidence in the balloting, Gov. Tom Wolf said, although he acknowledged that it is a costly proposition. The governor, a Democrat, told The Associated Press on Friday that one of the biggest challenges his administration faces in the matter is helping counties afford an estimated tab of $125 million. It is, he said, “a big, big purchase.” With a large number of voting machines that do not create an auditable paper trail, Pennsylvania is viewed as one of the most vulnerable states after federal authorities say Russian hackers targeted it and at least 20 others during the 2016 presidential election. In April, Wolf gave counties a deadline of 2020 to switch to voting machines that leave a paper trail. His administration has suggested that it could decertify all of the machines in use after 2019’s election.

Full Article: Getting New Voting Machines Is 'Right Thing,' Governor Says | Pennsylvania News | US News.

Pennsylvania: New voting machines to be in place across Pennsylvania by 2020 | WHTM

The next time Pennsylvanians vote in a presidential election, it will most likely be on updated machines. New voting systems must be in place in every county by the end of 2019, per updated guidelines set by Governor Tom Wolf’s administration. “All of the systems you see here have a voter-verifiable, paper ballot,” said Jonathan Marks, at a vendor event Wednesday at Dickinson College where several different brands of machines were set up for the public to try firsthand. “They’ve also been certified to newer security standards; the current equipment in use in Pennsylvania is certified to standards that were actually written in the 1990’s.”

Full Article: New voting machines to be in place across Pennsylvania by 2020.

Pennsylvania: Paper And Plastic: Counties Get Ready To Upgrade Voting Machines | WPSU

Zane Swanger tapped on the screen of a voting machine to make his elections choices, including a write-in candidate, before printing out his ballot. “OK, so it won’t even let me vote for overvotes, so good.” Swanger was testing out one of the new voting systems that Pennsylvanians could be using in elections starting next year. He’s the director of elections in Mifflin County, and that was third time he’s seen the equipment. The state is holding five voting systems expos, including that one in State College. There are different types of machines for poll workers and the public to try out as counties weigh which ones to get. “I actually made a few mistakes,” Swanger said, after casting his ballot. “I didn’t place it in the correct slot. But, it still accepted the vote properly. It’s things like that I like to test out to see, because I know voters aren’t going to follow the expected way you’re doing it. You have to expect a different situation may occur.”

Full Article: Paper And Plastic: Counties Get Ready To Upgrade Voting Machines | WPSU.

Pennsylvania: Lawmaker questions governor’s drive for new voting machines | Philadelphia Inquirer

A top Republican state senator is drafting legislation to prevent Gov. Tom Wolf from forcing Pennsylvania counties to buy new voting machines, a priority for the Democratic governor to ensure the machines are in place in time for the 2020 presidential election. Wolf has promoted the effort as a safeguard against hacking, since four in five Pennsylvania voters use electronic voting machines that lack an auditable paper trail. But Senate Majority Whip, Sen. John Gordner, R-Columbia, said Wednesday he wants to require legislative approval before Wolf — or any Pennsylvania governor— can force counties to buy new machines and set up a commission to gather public input and develop recommendations.

Full Article: Pa. lawmaker questions governor’s drive for new voting machines.