Fayette County’ Clerk Don Blevins Jr. told the Lexington council Tuesday he will request up to $2 million in coming months to replace decade-old voting machines that were partly to blame for long lines at precincts in November. “Our machines stink,” said Blevins, who oversees elections in Fayette County. “It’s time. We need to replace these machines.” Lexington has about 1,000 Hart eSlate machines, which use a wheel that voters turn to highlight their choice on the ballot. Voters then push a button to make the highlighted choice. Most precincts only have a couple machines, which creates long lines when the ballot is lengthy. The machines can be attached to another machine that prints the completed paper ballot, but Lexington does not use those. That means there is no printed record of an individual’s vote.Full Article: Blevins seeking millions for new voting machines in Lexington | Lexington Herald Leader.
Kentucky: ‘I can’t stand these machines.’ Record turnout wasn’t why you waited in line to vote | Lexington Herald Leader
Long lines and long waits to vote in Fayette County on Tuesday led many to expect record turnout in the midterm election. But, in the end, turnout was only at 52 percent in Lexington. Higher than usual, but not a record. So the blame turned back to Fayette County’s electronic voting machines, which take a long time to use, especially with a long and complicated ballot. That means some people who didn’t have an hour or more to wait in line may have left before voting. “I certainly heard my fair share of people saying the line was too long and they had to leave,” said Debra Hensley, a former Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council member. “A person who cannot vote is an error on our part.” It’s a complaint that County Clerk Don Blevins Jr., the county’s chief elections officer, has heard before. And he agrees. “I can’t stand these machines,” Blevins said Wednesday. “They’re awkward to use, older citizens really struggle with the wheel, the user interface is just about as bad as it could be.”Full Article: Electronic voting machines created long waits in Lexington, KY | Lexington Herald Leader.
National: Complaints Allege Cruz, Kemp Benefitting from Faulty Voting Machines That Change Dem Ballots to GOP | Law & Crime
Early voters submitting ballots for hotly contested races in Texas and Georgia claim that their states’ paperless voting machines are changing their votes for Democratic candidates to Republican, or deleting them altogether. According to Politico, individuals, as well as civil rights groups, have filed complaints alleging that glitches are resulting in votes for Republican Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) instead of his Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke. There have also been complaints that votes have gone to Georgia’s Republican candidate for governor, Brian Kemp, instead of his Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams. Voting technology experts have said that this is not the result of foul play, but outdated, faulty systems that don’t even leave a paper trail of what happened. Kemp, who is currently the Georgia Secretary of State, has resisted past calls for the state to change voting systems. His state has used the same system since 2002. Texas only uses electronic machines in some counties, but there have been reports of ballots that were intended to be “straight ticket” votes for one party were changed to the other party.Full Article: Voters Complain Democrat Ballots Changed to GOP | Law & Crime.
A national spotlight fell on Texas’ voting equipment last week after some voters complained that their votes on electronic voting machines had changed. State election officials chalked it up to user error. Critics alleged malfeasance or a software bug. The Austin-based company behind the machines says an important piece of context is missing from this debate: these machines are 16 years old. “It’s very much like someone calling Apple and asking for support on their iPhone 1,” said Steven Sockwell, vice president of marketing at Hart InterCivic. Most Texas counties last upgraded their electronic voting machines well over a decade ago, tapping billions in funds Congress approved to upgrade voting equipment around the country following election irregularities during the 2000 presidential election. Dozens of Texas counties purchased Hart’s eSlate machines. It’s those same machines that a number of voters attempted to cast straight-ticket ballots on last week only to hit a snag: when they reviewed their list of candidates on the summary screen, their choices were deselected or a candidate from an opposing party was selected.Full Article: Texas straight-ticket voting problems could be due to old machines | The Texas Tribune.
Texas voters experiencing issues with voting machines used in that state have been told by election officials that they are the problem, not the machines. The state says voters are inadvertently touching the machines in ways they shouldn’t, causing the machines to alter or delete their vote in the hotly contested senate race between Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke. But Dan Wallach, a computer science professor at Rice University in Houston who has examined the systems extensively in the past, told Motherboard in a phone interview that the problem is a common type of software bug that the maker of the equipment could have fixed a decade ago and didn’t, despite previous voter complaints. What’s more, he says the same systems have much more serious security problems that the manufacturer has failed to fix that make them susceptible to hacking. The problem involves eSlate voting machines made by Hart InterCivic—direct-recording electronic machines that use a dial and button for voters to make their selections. Voters turn the dial in the lower right corner of the machine to scroll through each race and page of a digital ballot, and press the “enter” button, located just left of the dial, to make their selections.Full Article: An Expert Explains Why Texas Voting Machines Are Switching Votes From Beto O'Rourke to Ted Cruz.
National: How Electronic-Voting-Machine Errors Reflect a Wider Crisis for American Democracy | The New Yorker
When reports began circulating last week that voting machines in Texas were flipping ballots cast for Beto O’Rourke over to Ted Cruz, and machines in Georgia were changing votes for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams to those for her Republican opponent, Brian Kemp, it would not have been unreasonable to suppose that those machines had been hacked. After all, their vulnerabilities have been known for nearly two decades. In September, J. Alex Halderman, a computer-science professor at the University of Michigan, demonstrated to members of Congress precisely how easy it is to surreptitiously manipulate the AccuVote TS, a variant of the direct-recording electronic (D.R.E.) voting machines used in Georgia. In addition, Halderman noted, it is impossible to verify that the votes cast were not the votes intended, since the AccuVote does not provide a physical record of the transaction.Full Article: How Electronic-Voting-Machine Errors Reflect a Wider Crisis for American Democracy | The New Yorker.
A software flaw can be just as damaging to the voting process as a hacker. That much is clear in Texas, where some early voters have claimed that machines are changing their votes in the midterm election. Keith Ingram, the Texas Director of Elections, said in an advisory that the problem is happening because voters are jumping the gun. The issue crops up if a voter selects the “straight party ticket” option, and then keeps pressing buttons before the page finishes loading on the screen, he said. “As a reminder, voters should always carefully check their review screen before casting their ballots,” Ingram said. … Electronic voting machine experts should expand their focus beyond looking for the kinds of flaws a hacker could exploit, and start looking for flaws that just make machines malfunction, said voting machine security expert Dan Wallach, a computer science professor at Rice University. “I would say that a decade ago we put a lot of focus on security bugs” he said. “Glitches have never received the same degree of attention.”Full Article: Software bugs could compromise midterm votes in Texas - CNET.
Texas: Texans say glitchy voting machines are changing their ballots. The state blames user error. | The Washington Post
“Make sure to confirm that your summary page accurately reflects your choices BEFORE casting your ballot!” reads a flier distributed by the Texas secretary of state’s election division to state polling locations. The notice was the agency’s quick fix for a glitch in its widely used Hart eSlate voting machines. Texas native Peter Martin, 69, was one of many who missed the message. “I’ve always voted. It’s the only opportunity that I have to make any sort of difference in terms of politics,” he said. When the registered independent went to a recreational center in Grapevine, Tex., last week, he planned to vote for Senate hopeful Beto O’Rourke. The Hart machine offered a fast-tracked option for straight-ticket voters. Martin selected it, expecting the machine to populate an all-Democrat ballot.Full Article: Texas voting machines: ballot errors as O'Rourke races Cruz - The Washington Post.
Texas: Company blames Texas voters’ problems on user error, saying its machines don’t flip straight-ticket ballots | Dallas Morning News
Some voters have said their straight-ticket ballots have switched to candidates in the opposite party, but the company that makes the machines said they don’t do that and have been used in the last nine election cycles without any problems. Several voters have complained to Texas election officials that their votes for Rep. Beto O’Rourke switched to Sen. Ted Cruz, or vice versa, on Hart InterCivic’s eSlate machine. Houston resident Mickey Blake told KTRK-TV (Channel 13) that she voted straight-ticket Democrat, but on the final review screen, she noticed all Democratic candidates were selected except for O’Rourke. Cordell Hosea of Fort Bend County told the station that the same thing happened to him. But Hart, which is based in Austin, blamed the problems on user error.Full Article: Company blames Texas voters' problems on user error, saying its machines don't flip straight-ticket ballots | 2018 Elections | Dallas News.
The manufacturer of the digital voting machines used across the state filed suit in Travis County district court this week, seeking to block the Texas secretary of state from certifying rival machine makers whose devices produce a paper receipt of votes cast. The lawsuit adds to the growing controversy surrounding the security of voting systems across the country — prompted, in part, by fears of potential hacking and by unsubstantiated claims by President Donald Trump that millions of illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election. The lawsuit filed by Hart InterCivic — the manufacturer of the eSlate voting machines used in Travis County — asks a district court judge to preemptively rule that voting machines that produce a paper record do not comply with state laws requiring the use of electronic voting machines for all countywide elections. The Texas secretary of state’s office declined to comment. Hart Intercivic’s attorney did not return calls from the American-Statesman.Full Article: Voting machine maker sues to block rivals' paper-using devices.
Last September, in the run-up to the election, we learned that Russians had attempted to attack 33 states’ voter registration databases, later revised upward to 39 states. I was asked to testify about this in Congress, and my main concern was that the Russians might attempt to simply delete voters altogether, creating electoral chaos. All the pieces were in place, but the election came and went without wide-scale problems. What happened? We know that the Obama and Putin had a “blunt” meeting at the G20 that same September, so it’s possible that Obama was able to rattle Putin enough to make him pull back. Maybe Putin decided that leaking stolen emails was good enough. We may never know the full story, but what is clear is that we need to adequately defend ourselves against future nation-state attacks on our elections, whether from Russia or elsewhere. As James Comey warned the Senate Intelligence Committee recently, “They will be back.”Full Article: Up for debate: Is Harris County's vote safe from the Russians? - Houston Chronicle.
California: San Mateo County elections officials switch to paper ballots after electronic voting machine glitch | San Jose Mercury News
A software glitch in 140 electronic voting machines prompted San Mateo County elections officials to dole out paper ballots while technicians scrambled to fix the error Tuesday morning. The problem was coding, said Jim Irizarry, assistant chief elections officer. The agency uses the Hart InterCivic “eSlate” machine, he said. Those machines are connected to a central system, and without the proper coding, the voting machines could not communicate to the central system. The glitch “should not have occurred,” Irizarry said. “When you’re programming the units, you should code them properly,” he said. “I believe we probably did not code those machines as well as we should have.”Full Article: San Mateo County elections officials switch to paper ballots after electronic voting machine glitch - San Jose Mercury News.
Jefferson County voters received new voting machines Monday to replace an outdated and worn-out system that caused consternation for vote-counters and poll-watchers alike, especially in the past election cycle. The new machines, which cost $1,782,900, were delivered to the county’s counting station on Viterbo Road in Nederland two weeks after Commissioners Court approved the purchase from Hart Intercivic of Austin.
Wichita County Commissioners are saying yes to the purchase of new election equipment, and for a high price. The commissioners voted to spend $1 million dollars on the equipment, which will include 210 new voting machines. This comes after county officials learned last month the new election equipment system would operate on more current Windows operating systems. While it comes at a high price, commissioners feel the county needs that equipment before election season. Wichita County has used it’s current election equipment, by the company Election Systems and Software for 10 years. This system operates on Windows XP and Microsoft no longer provides security updates for that operating system, which is why commissioners have decided the county needs a change. “The security could be compromised. It’s not as secure, there’s not security patches being put into it. And it’s on the internet, so we had had some vulnerability to it, and it didn’t work very well for us,” Judge Woody Gossom says.Full Article: Wichita County Commissioners Approve New Election Equipment.
Illinois: Solution sought to voting machine issue in Madison County | The Edwardsville Intelligencer
Should a tornado or other catastrophic event cause a power outage during the Nov. 4 mid-term elections, Madison County Clerk Debbie Ming-Mendoza is fairly certain that early voting would proceed without much disruption. That’s not the case now, as the county continues to be in the precarious position of operating with two different hardware and two different software systems for its elections. But Ming-Mendoza is seeking federal Help America Vote Act funds to purchase early voting tabulators and Ballot on Demand printers and software that would bring both systems onto an even platform. The package costs $228,000 though the HAVA grant would cover the cost entirely. Ming-Mendoza said the purchase would also drop the county’s annual licensing and maintenance expenses from $98,000 to $41,000 since the it would be decreasing its election machine inventory from 162 to 17.Full Article: Solution sought to voting issue - The Edwardsville Intelligencer : News.
A recount of the Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 Republican Primary race between Debra Ann Herrera and Michael Pascarella revealed 73 votes had not been counted during the March Primary election. In that race Herrera had received 141 votes and Pascarella had received 144. The three-vote difference prompted Herrera to ask for a re-count. After the recount, Herrera picked up 33 votes and Pascarella received 40 more votes. The disparity alerted the officials and those sitting in that something was definitely off. It was discovered that a MBB drive from one of the electronic voting machines used in early voting had not been downloaded in the March 4 tallying of votes.
After it was revealed Monday that more than 500 unaccounted-for Atascosa County primary votes were discovered on an unscanned machine, elections officials there spent Tuesday morning recounting the votes. Atascosa County Elections Administrator Janice Ruple said for whatever reason, someone failed to scan one machine to do the count. (See earlier story.)Full Article: Lost ballots in Atascosa County lead to recount | News - Home.
National: Romney Family Investment Ties To Voting Machine Company That Could Decide The Election Causing Concern | Forbes
It’s 3:00 a.m. on November 7, 2012. With the painfully close presidential election now down to who wins the battleground state of Ohio, no network dares to call the race and risk repeating the mistakes of 2000 when a few networks jumped the gun on picking a winner. As the magic boards used by the networks go ‘up close and personal’ on every county in the Buckeye State, word begins to circulate that there might be a snafu with some electronic voting machines in a number of Cincinnati based precincts. There have already been complaints that broken machines were not being quickly replaced in precincts that tend to lean Democratic and now, word is coming in that there may be some software issues. The network political departments get busy and, in short order, discover that the machines used in Hamilton County, Ohio—the county home of Cincinnati— are supplied by Hart Intercivic, a national provider of voting systems in use in a wide variety of counties scattered throughout the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Colorado and Ohio. A quick Internet search reveals that there may be reason for concern.Full Article: Romney Family Investment Ties To Voting Machine Company That Could Decide The Election Causing Concern - Forbes.
Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall says a new system for numbering ballots would preserve voter anonymity as well as efficiency in tallying election results, and she expects it to pass muster with the Secretary of State’s Office. However, election integrity activists say any “distinguishing marks” on ballots violate the law and open the door to linking individual voters with their ballots. The group Citizen Center has filed a request for a restraining order in federal court to stop the printing of Boulder County’s ballots with distinguishing serial numbers. A hearing on the request is scheduled for Sept. 21. Like other counties who use the Hart Voting System, Boulder County’s ballots have three sets of numbers and bar codes — one that identifies the election, one that identifies the precinct and ballot content (which jurisdictions and ballot questions the voter is voting on) and one that identifies the ballot.Full Article: Election watchdogs seek to block Boulder County ballot printing - Boulder Daily Camera.