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 Those machines were state of the art 22 years ago, but they’re now outdated and, according to some, in desperate need of replacement.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.
Delaware voters soon will cast their ballots on new voting machines. But exactly when – and what those machines will look like – remains to be seen. A state task force created last year to study the issue is still debating what bells and whistles the new voting machines should feature – four months after it was supposed to make a final recommendation to the Delaware General Assembly. … First deployed in 1996, Delaware’s 1,600 voting machines are among the oldest in the nation and have outlived their expected lifespan, creating a growing list of potential problems. The computer operating system used to create electronic ballots, for instance, is no longer supported by Microsoft, meaning security updates are no longer available. The outdated equipment also precludes the General Assembly from adopting the kind of no-excuse early voting currently used by 34 other states. And Delaware is now one of five states using voting machines that never let voters see a paper copy of their ballot to ensure its accuracy.
Delaware: Department of Elections pursues voting machine modernization | Delaware State News | Delaware State News
On Thursday morning, the Kent County Department of Elections completed its inspection of all 32 voting machines that will be used in the upcoming Kent County Levy Court special election. … In addition to routine inspection, the department recently has been pursuing modernization of voting equipment. Last year, state election commissioner Elaine Manlove requested a task force to review existing equipment (House Bill 342). On Tuesday the resulting task force met for the first time to discuss a strategy.
People often complain about long lines when they go to cast their vote on Election Day, particularly in presidential election years, but imagine how much worse it would be if large numbers of the state’s aging voting machines broke down and parts to fix them were hard to come by. It’s that type of scenario that Sen. Elder Vogel, R-Beaver County, hopes to avoid. He authored a resolution calling for a study on aging voting machines in the state that the Senate adopted last month. It directs the Joint State Government Commission to complete the study within the next 18 months and issue its findings and recommendations. County election officials are already “scavenging parts” when problems arise, he said. He wants to be proactive “before it becomes a crisis.” Barry Kauffman, a senior adviser to Common Cause Pennsylvania, agrees this is an issue that needs to be dealt with – and soon. “We know these machines are aging out … some of the software isn’t even serviced anymore,” Kauffman said. “There is a serious need to protect the integrity of our elections.” Along with that, he would like to see more voting machines that are user-friendly and ensure votes are counted correctly. “In the end, we need timely, accurate results,” he said.
Sebastian County is poised to test new voting equipment for the state by letting county voters use it in the March 1 primaries. The Sebastian County Election Commission and county officials unveiled Tuesday the 250 voting machines, 54 tabulators and 94 digital poll books that will be set up in the county’s 41 polling places March 1 and in three early voting sites. Early voting begins Tuesday and runs through Feb. 29. For the past 10 years, voters in Sebastian County have had the option of voting on now-obsolete electronic machines or by paper ballot, Election Commission Chairman David Damron said. Both will be replaced by equipment the Arkansas secretary of state’s office bought from Omaha, Neb.-based Electronic Systems & Software for testing in Sebastian, Boone, Columbia and Garland counties.
Philadelphia officials are focused on getting new voting machines to replace the original crop of electronic machines, now more than a decade old. But a bit of bureaucracy may hinder the purchase. The mayor’s new budget sets aside $22 million for new voting machines, with the hope to having them in place for the May 2017 primary. At a city council budget hearing this past week, Chief Information Officer Adel Ebeid said the current machines are past their useful life.
Delaware: Pew report praises Delaware voter registration, questions voting machines | Delaware Public Media
The Pew Charitable Trust’s examination of 17 areas such as polling station wait times placed Delaware in the top twenty-five percent of states overall when it comes to “election performance” – so says Pew’s manager of election initiatives Zachary Markovitz. “Delaware really is a pioneer leading the states, especially in improving their voter registration system,” said Markovitz. That improvement comes in the form of the “e-signature” program, which the First State implemented in 2009. The initiative lets Delaware residents complete the entire voter registration process at the DMV, instead of having to fill out paperwork, send it in by mail, wait for a response…. and very possibly, and understandably, have something get messed up along the way. The e-signature program was even praised by a task force commissioned by President Obama after the 2012 elections to find ways to improve election performance around the country. Still, Pew’s report found room for improvement in Delaware. Markovitz points to Delaware’s “residual vote rate” — basically, the number of votes cast in an election versus those actually counted. And when those numbers don’t match up, it could imply that some people’s votes are slipping through the cracks. …
US Virgin Islands: Ballot review halted after group calls police to report ‘tampering’ | Virgin Islands Daily News
Tensions between Board of Elections officials and a group of former candidates who maintain that the last General Election was fraudulent have escalated, involving a call to the police, invoking a moratorium on the review of elections records and resulting in the cancellation of a Joint Board of Elections meeting that was scheduled for today. For almost two weeks, a group of unsuccessful candidates and members of the group Virgin Islands United for Social Justice and Accountability have pored over tally sheets at the St. Thomas Board of Elections office. Animosity between them and the Elections System staff and board members has risen to the degree that Joint Elections Board Chairwoman Alecia Wells characterizes the group’s behavior as bizarre and Elections staff say they are being unduly harassed by the residents.
Pennsylvania: Machine problems plague Interboro primary elections (Delaware County) – delcotimes.com
“Until we find out the results of that one machine, I’d rather not comment,” said Kaelin, last night.
In Tuesday’s primary, a voting machine malfunction left a cliff hanger in Glenolden which may not be resolved until sometime today at the earliest, according to officials. Eight candidates were competing for four four year seats on Interboro School Board.