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New York: Groups warn against ExpressVote XL voting machine being considered for New York | AnneMarie Durkin/The Legislative Gazette

Common Cause New York and Disability Rights New York are calling attention to new voting technologies they say will make it difficult for disabled voters to cast their ballot in upcoming elections. As the state Board of Elections is in the final stages of certifying the new machines, disability rights groups are asking the agency to reject the new machines because they say they are hard to read, can be confusing for those who are hard of hearing, are expensive and they are prone to undercounting votes. The voting machines, ExpressVoteXL, operate as a touch-screen machine and are completely technology centered, as opposed to the traditional paper-ballot voting system that has been in place up until now. Common Cause/NY also dropped off thousands of petitions from New Yorkers across the state against the machine. The New York State Board of Elections is currently in the final stages before it does, or does not, certify the new voting machine. Common Cause says that the company that makes the machine has spent more than $600,000 lobbying New York state officials. Common Cause released a report that details reasons they say the machine should not be used in the upcoming elections.

Full Article: Groups warn against voting machine option being considered for NY – The Legislative Gazette.

Texas: Bexar County GOP Chair, Former Constable Question Election Integrity | Jackie Wang/Rivard Report

Cynthia Brehm, who heads Bexar County’s Republican Party, criticized the Bexar County Elections Department’s handling of the March primary election and demanded that the election be redone at a county commissioners meeting Tuesday. “Not a recount,” Brehm said. “Throw it out. Bexar County citizens deserve better than a system that is faulty and flawed.” Brehm, who will face candidate John Austin in a May runoff election for her second term as party chair, pointed to the software issues that caused a delay in early voting result publication. “I can tell you right now – I’ve already talked to the people above me that I don’t have the confidence in this election at all,” Brehm told reporters Tuesday. “And my constituents don’t trust it.” Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen said the comments made by Brehm and Michelle Barrientes Vela, a former constable and Democratic sheriff candidate, were “misinformation.” “I stand behind this election,” Callanen said.

Full Article: March Primary Election Called Into Question; Candidates Demand Recount.

Texas: Dallas County recount turns up 9,149 ballots that were missed | Alexa Ura/The Texas Tribune

A Dallas County recount turned up 9,149 ballots that were missed on Super Tuesday, but the new votes did not affect the outcome of any race. Through the recount — which was prompted by vote discrepancies discovered last week — county election officials found 6,818 votes Wednesday that were not included in their initial tally of votes in the March 3 Democratic primary and 2,331 votes that were left off the results of the Republican primary. More than 329,000 votes were cast in Dallas County during early voting and on election day. The county is still processing mail-in ballots and provisional votes. A state district judge ordered the recount Tuesday at the request of Dallas County elections administrator Toni Pippins-Poole. The county asked to redo its vote count after discovering it missed ballots from 44 tabulating machines used on election day. Dallas County officials realized they were missing votes when they were unable to reconcile the count of voters who checked in at some polling places and the number of votes recorded.

Full Article: Dallas County recount turns up 9,149 ballots that were missed | The Texas Tribune.

Wyoming: State makes switch to new election equipment vendor | Jackson Hole Buckrail

The Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office this week announced that a final contract was awarded to Election Systems & Software (ES&S) for the purchase of election equipment for all 23 Wyoming counties. The new equipment will be in place for the 2020 Election. “Wyoming’s elections are held with integrity from beginning to end, and Election Day 2020 will be no different. After a diligent and thorough evaluation process, made possible thanks to an appropriation from the legislature in 2019, Wyoming has signed a contract, formed a new partnership and purchased the most secure and up-to-date voting equipment on the market,” said Secretary of State Edward Buchanan. Locally, not much will change. County Clerk Sherry Daigle told Buckrail Teton County has been ahead of the curve for years now. “We’re pretty excited it is going to them. We’ve been using their updated system for four years now and, really, since the ‘80s when we were using BRC’s punchcard ballot machines, and then ES&S bought out BRC in the ‘90s.

Full Article: Wyoming makes statewide switch to new election equipment vendor - Buckrail - Jackson Hole, news.

Indiana: Tippecanoe County, companies shift to voting machines with printable paper ballots | Jordan Smith/Purdue Exponent

Four companies that manufacture voting equipment for Tippecanoe County presented new machines with printable paper ballots to a packed room of voters Monday night, seeking to instill trust in the updated technologies through public input. Each company had some variation of a similar technology. Candidates are selected on electronic machines — some use touchscreens while others use buttons — and a summary of choices displays when finished. The machines then print ballots, which can be reviewed by voters and then inserted into a scanner that counts them electronically and physically. The paper copies are then deposited into a locked bin connected to the scanner, while the machine’s memory drive stores the results separately. “There has been such a groundswell for paper ballots,” said Lawrence Leach of Hart InterCivic, Inc., a company offering a hybrid electronic-paper machine. “There’s a lot of focus on voting and everything around that process — you cannot get it wrong. It has to be done right, you have to be 100% correct, so we’re striving to make sure every vote gets counted correctly and audited.”

Full Article: County, companies shift to voting machines with printable paper ballots | City & State | purdueexponent.org.

Wyoming: Secretary of State’s Office Awards Contract for Election Equipment to ES&S | The Cheyenne Post

Today the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office announces that a final contract has been awarded to Election Systems & Software (ES&S) for the purchase of election equipment for all 23 Wyoming counties. New equipment will be in place for the 2020 Election. “Wyoming’s elections are held with integrity from beginning to end, and Election Day 2020 will be no different. After a diligent and thorough evaluation process, made possible thanks to an appropriation from the legislature in 2019, Wyoming has signed a contract, formed a new partnership and purchased the most secure and up-to-date voting equipment on the market.” said Secretary of State Edward Buchanan. A working group established by the Secretary of State’s Office chose ES&S after a competitive bidding process. The group included five current county clerks, one former county clerk and four staff members from the Secretary of State’s Office. “Security measures on election equipment have certainly advanced in the 15 years since the State of Wyoming last purchased equipment. Wyoming’s elections will benefit from these security advancements. Each ballot will be printed on paper – always creating an audit trail that can be used to confirm the accuracy of every single vote. Voting systems are air-gapped and will never connect to the internet,” said State Election Director Kai Schon. “ES&S has implemented the best security measures and their systems have been tried and tested over years of successful elections in Wyoming.”

Full Article: Secretary of State’s Office Awards Contract for Election Equipment | News | thecheyennepost.com.

Arkansas: Panel weighs vote machine financial aid | Dale Ellis/Arkansas Democrat Gazette

State Rep. Doug House on Monday floated the idea of the state treasury loaning funds to counties that can’t afford their share of the cost of purchasing new voting equipment for the Nov. 3 general election. House, a Republican from North Little Rock, tossed out this proposal during a meeting of the House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee that also heard a pitch from Anna Claire Tilley, an 11th-grade student at Southside High School in Fort Smith, for Arkansas to implement online voter registration. Sixty-four of the state’s 75 counties had updated voting equipment for the March 3 primary election. These 64 counties included 10 that Secretary of State John Thurston’s office purchased new voting equipment for last year through Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software with the help of state funding made available under Act 808 of 2019 plus funding from most of those counties. Act 808 diverted $8.24 million in excess funds from the property tax relief trust fund to the county voting systems grant fund. The $8.4 million in state funds included about $2 million to reimburse Ashley, Benton and White counties for half of what they paid for their new equipment. (Act 808 also increased the homestead property tax credit from $350 to $375 per parcel.)

Full Article: Panel weighs vote machine financial aid.

Texas: Dallas County election recount court date set for Tuesday | Nic Garcia/Dallas Morning News

Dallas County’s request for a recount of last week’s election after it discovered a discrepancy between the number of voters who signed in and the actual ballots counted will be heard by a district court judge on Tuesday. The county’s election chief, Toni Pippins-Poole, filed a request to reopen the election late Friday after ballots from 44 vote tabulating machines were not included in the final tally that officials had submitted, according to court papers. Without knowing how many votes are at issue, it’s unclear whether the outcomes of any races will change. State law stipulates that ballots must be counted continuously after the polls close. Once officials have stopped tallying votes, the election is considered completed. Even though the results are unofficial until county commissioners approve them, a judge must order any additional ballot counting. Judge Emily G. Tobolowsky will consider the recount request. Between the two parties, more than 317,000 ballots — 233,014 Democratic and 83,997 Republican — were counted last week, according to unofficial results on Dallas County’s election website. Democratic turnout, in particular, nearly hit a record — second only to 2008 when 298,612 Democrats voted.

Full Article: Dallas County election recount court date set for Tuesday.

Arkansas: Aging ES&S iVotronic vote machines seen as issue | Dale Ellis/Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Jefferson County election officials, with the March 3 primary behind them, are looking toward what lies ahead as they continue struggling with old touchscreen voting machines that have become balky and prone to failure. Last week, on Super Tuesday, those shortcomings became apparent as technicians struggled to power the machines up and as poll workers struggled to keep them operating. According to Election Commissioner Stuart “Stu” Soffer, a number of poll judges said they won’t be back until the machines are replaced. The voting machines that Jefferson County uses are iVotronic touchscreen voting machines that were purchased from Election Systems & Software more than 15 years ago and were donated to the county from other counties that had upgraded to the new ExpressVote equipment after Jefferson County lost most of its iVotronic machines to water damage in 2018. The total cost of the 140 machines Soffer said the county needs, according to an estimate supplied by the Jefferson County Election Commission, is nearly $940,000. According to a formula worked out by the secretary of state’s office, to purchase the machines, the state would put in $618,434 from federal grant funds, leaving Jefferson County to come up with the remaining $321,367 — money that both Soffer and County Judge Gerald Robinson have said the county does not have.

Full Article: Aging vote machines seen as issue.

Texas: Dallas County asks for Super Tuesday recount after discovering it missed some ballots | Alexa Ura/The Texas Tribune

Dallas County officials are seeking a recount of the March 3 primary results after discovering that an unknown number of ballots were not initially counted. In a petition filed late Friday in state district court, Dallas County election administrator Toni Pippins-Poole said her office has discovered that ballots from 44 tabulating machines were not accounted for in the election results reported by the county on Super Tuesday. It’s unclear how many ballots were missing from the county’s tally of votes. The issue turned up after county officials were unable to reconcile the number of voters who checked in to cast ballots at some polling places and the number of ballots received from those sites. The tally of ballots had been compiled from flash drives that were turned in to the county, and the county initially believed it had received all ballots from the 454 vote centers, Pippins-Poole said in an affidavit filed with the court. “However, it was later determined that there are ballots from 44 of the precinct scanner and tabulator machines that are unaccounted for,” Pippins-Poole said. She could not immediately be reached for comment on Saturday.

Full Article: Dallas County asks for Super Tuesday recount after discovering it missed some ballots | The Texas Tribune.

Texas: Bexar Elections Official: Software Issue Will Be Resolved by November | Iris Dimmick/Rivard Report

Bexar County wasn’t the only county in Texas that experienced difficulties reporting election results on Super Tuesday, but it was one of the last large counties to start doing so. While software issues caused a delay in reporting vote tallies Tuesday night, one problem election officials encountered early on election day was fixed with a simple flip of a switch. Backup generators kicked on at the Copernicus Community Center voting site to power printers, laptops, and voting machines during the early hours of Tuesday. Utility crews and facility staff investigated the problem; they couldn’t figure it out at first, said Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen. “There [were] no power issues. … Everything was plugged in, it looked great,” Callanen said. “Well, nobody had turned the surge protector on. … They had not looked at the little light at the bottom.” Power was restored to the far East Side voting site by 2 p.m., she said. Callenen called a press conference Wednesday morning to outline the factors that led to Bexar County’s “rough morning” and slow, cumbersome posting of voting results on Tuesday night. In short, a record-breaking number of voters resulted in technical issues.

Full Article: Bexar Elections Official: Software Issue Will Be Resolved by November | Rivard Report.

North Carolina: Super Tuesday vote counting problems in Warren County North Carolina | Will Doran/Raleigh News & Observer

Officials in a North Carolina county accidentally inflated the votes in one Super Tuesday primary election, but fixed the problem on Thursday. Tuesday’s election results are still unofficial everywhere in the state, and officials at the N.C. State Board of Elections will do audits all around the state regardless of whether voting results appear wrong. In one rural area, however, they have already found an issue and say it was due to human error. “It’s very important to note that the results on the election night reporting system are unofficial and this is ongoing,” Pat Gannon, a spokesman for the elections board, said in an interview Thursday morning. Warren County, a small community north of Raleigh on the Virginia border, has only 41 registered Libertarian voters. But on Tuesday the county reported more than 800 votes cast in the Libertarian presidential race.

Full Article: Super Tuesday vote counting problems in Warren County NC | Raleigh News & Observer.

North Carolina: How did Guilford’s new voting system work? | Taft Wireback/Greensboro News Record

The votes are in, and Guilford County’s new system of hand-marked, paper ballots came through its first, full-fledged test without any major snags. Elections Director Charlie Collicutt said the new equipment worked well in Tuesday’s primary and voters adapted successfully to the shift away from touchscreen voting to paper ballots. “There was some apprehension early in the process because it is something different from what you’ve been doing for the last 15 years,” Collicutt said Wednesday. Voters came out for Tuesday’s primary in robust, if not record numbers: 112,728 cast ballots, or about 31% of the county’s registered voters, Collicutt said. That’s 5% below turnout for the last presidential primary in 2016 when 122,897 voters participated, he said. Once voting got under way Tuesday, the only significant drawback came from delays by state government’s computer system in displaying Guilford’s results online, Collicutt said. “The big issue was how slow the state’s website was,” he said. “The upload was so slow.” Guilford County spent about $2 million for its new voting equipment to comply with changes in state law that require systems to leave a better paper trail than the touchscreen terminals Guilford had been using for years. The new system relies on printed, multiple-choice ballots that voters fill out in ink and feed into a tabulator at their precincts.

Full Article: How did Guilford's new voting system work? | Local News | greensboro.com.

Texas: Harris County’s cascade of election day fumbles disproportionately affected communities of color | Alexa Uren/The Texas Tribune

From the sunlit atrium of the science building on campus, former Vice President Joe Biden asked Texas Southern University for an assist. It was election day eve, and Biden was visiting the university just days after black voters in South Carolina had forcefully revived his presidential bid. That Biden had chosen to spend precious hours at Texas Southern ahead of Super Tuesday seemed to signal he hoped to make the historically black college and the community it represented a nexus between his last pivotal win and the next crucial test of his campaign. “Tomorrow, Texas is going to speak,” Biden said to a raucous throng of supporters surrounding him. “I think we’re going to do well here in Texas with the help of all of you. I’m asking you for your vote. I’m asking you for your support because I’ve got to earn it.

Full Article: Harris County's Texas Southern University voting delays: What happened? | The Texas Tribune.

Texas: Bexar County’s new ES&S voting system ‘crashed’ 3 times, tying up race results, election chief says | Scott Huddleston/San Antonio ExpressNews

Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen said computers used to post results in a new voting system “crashed” three times, forcing election officials to post separate sets of numbers, rather than consolidating them as they had on past election nights. “We will be working today with the vendor to get the regular report that y’all are used to seeing,” Callanen told reporters at a Wednesday news conference. Election officials, hoping to post early vote totals just as polls closed at 7 p.m. Tuesday, started preparing to do that about 6:30 p.m., Callanen said. But the computer, which was processing 122,159 early votes, began running slower, then suddenly stopped. “It just crashed,” she said. After repeated failures, officials decided to release the early votes as two separate reports — one set showing results for the in-person early voting and another with the tallies from 17,262 mail-in ballots, also known as absentee voting.

“We made the decision that we had to get some results out. We knew they were accurate. We knew they were in there,” Callanen said.

When the 113,650 ballots cast on election day started coming in, those results also were reported as a separate set. That meant poll watchers had to do their own math, tabulating results and calculating percentages from three different reports — absentee, early in-person voting and election day votes.

The results from election day reached 100 percent about 2 a.m. Wednesday.

Callanen said she is confident that the county’s longtime voting system vendor, Election Systems & Software, will pinpoint the cause of the system failures and find a way to report consolidated totals in November.

ES&S has been the county contractor since 2002.

“Was I upset? Sure I was. Was I disappointed? Yeah, I was,” Callanen said. “But we’ve worked with this company. I have every confidence in them. They won’t stop until they can give us a solid answer.”

There were a few other gaffes Tuesday, including a “rough start” at 50 to 60 of the 280 vote centers countywide, where printers were plugged into the wrong printer ports.

Callanen said she also felt responsible for complaints from “unhappy” voters from other states with election laws and processes that differ from the Texas Election Code. Some states allow for same-day primary voting and registration. Others, such as Michigan, permit voters to request a new ballot after casting an early vote “if their candidate had withdrawn,” she said.

Callanen said she “never did the studying” to prepare election judges and other officials to field those voter concerns, so they could explain how voting in Texas compares with other states.

“I was not prepared for that,” she said. “I feel like I let the election officials down. Because all of a sudden, they had these people in front of them with something they had never had to deal with.”

Full Article: Bexar County’s new voting system ‘crashed’ 3 times, tying up race results, election chief says – ExpressNews.com.

Full Article: Bexar County’s new voting system ‘crashed’ 3 times, tying up race results, election chief says - ExpressNews.com.

Arkansas: ES&S iVotronic voting machines linked to problems, count delay in Jefferson County | Dale Ellis, Cynthia Howell, Emily Walkenhorst/Northwest Arkansas Online

Voting machine problems in Jefferson County delayed the vote count in both city and county races Tuesday night after poll workers in several locations were unable to close out the machines because of electronic failures. Technicians from the election commission had to manually close the machine at each affected location. The iVotronic touch-screen voting machines have been in service for about 15 years. Michael Adam, chairman of the Jefferson County Election Commission, announced shortly before 9 p.m. that final results would be delayed. The results were announced after 10:30 p.m. The primary got off to a rocky start during early voting when a ballot error in the Democratic Primary affecting four precincts that had the wrong state Senate race on the ballot was discovered over a week into early voting and after 152 voters had cast ballots in the wrong race. The four precincts, located in the city of Pine Bluff, were programmed with the Senate District 25 race between incumbent Sen. Stephanie Flowers of Pine Bluff and Efrem Elliott of White Hall, but should have been programmed with the Senate District 27 race between Keidra Burrell of Pine Bluff and former Rep. Garry Smith of Camden.

Full Article: Old vote machines linked to problems, count delay in Jefferson County.

Indiana: Commissioners won’t vote on Madison County vote center proposal | Ken de la Bastide/The Herald Bulletin

A lack of a quorum at a called special meeting of the Madison County Commissioners has stopped the attempt to implement vote centers in the county. Commissioner John Richwine called the special meeting for Monday evening to discuss vote centers, but late in the day County Attorney Jonathan Hughes sent out an email stating because of prior commitments there would not be a quorum. Richwine said he was going to attend the meeting and allow anyone to speak on becoming a vote center county. Commissioners Kelly Gaskill and Mike Phipps notified Hughes they would not be in attendance. Both were at the Madison County Government Center, but didn’t attend an Election Board meeting earlier Monday.

Full Article: Commissioners won't vote on vote center proposal | News | heraldbulletin.com.

Voting Blogs: Counties in North Carolina Gamble on New Voting Machines | Margaret Lowry/State of Elections

Super Tuesday is tomorrow and voters in North Carolina might use new voting machines. Since the 2018 election, several counties in North Carolina have had to make a critical decision for their voters–what voting machines should they purchase? A shortened timetable and heightened concern about election security have made for a contentious process. A 2013 bill required all voting systems in the state to produce a paper ballot, and set a schedule to decertify existing machines that did not meet the requirement. Originally, the bill set the decertification date as January 1, 2018, but subsequent legislation in 2015 and 2018 pushed the deadline to December 1, 2019. About one-third of the counties in North Carolina have Direct Record Electronic (DRE) voting systems that will need to be replaced by the decertification date. DREs are paperless. Voters use a touchscreen to select their choice, and the machine then stores and tabulates that choice electronically.

Full Article: Counties in North Carolina Gamble on New Voting Machines - State of Elections.

South Carolina: Doublecheck that ballot: Controversial voting machines make their primary debut in South Carolina | Eric Geller/Politico

While the paper-based machines are supposed to make the vote more resistant to digital tampering, they also introduce new uncertainty into an election already marked by widespread warnings that Russia is determined to interfere in yet another U.S. presidential race. Many South Carolina voters and precinct workers will be encountering the new machines for the first time — less than four weeks after the Democrats’ bungled Iowa caucus showed the pitfalls of introducing new technology into a high-stakes election. The technology behind the ballot-printing touchscreen machines has also raised hackles among cyber researchers, election security advocates and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. They say the machines may be more secure than the totally paperless systems still used in 11 states — but they’re not as safe as paper ballots that voters mark by hand. South Carolina lawmakers decided in June to buy a model called ExpressVote from the country’s largest election technology company, Election Systems & Software. Counties in at least seven states — Florida, Indiana, Kansas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas — have also replaced their paperless machines with the ExpressVote since 2018, according to a POLITICO survey. Delaware bought another model from ES&S, called the ExpressVote XL, and Georgia has purchased similar machines from another manufacturer.

Full Article: Doublecheck that ballot: Controversial voting machines make their primary debut in South Carolina - POLITICO.

South Carolina: Election officials confident the primary will go smoothly. Here’s what they’re up against. | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

South Carolina election officials are confident their first-in-the-South primary will go smoothly on Saturday — despite looming threats of Russian hacking, misinformation, or an Iowa caucus-style tech failure. “We feel as confident as election officials can feel on the eve of a statewide election with the eyes of the world upon us,” Chris Whitmire, the State Election Commission’s director of public information, told me. That may sound like tempting fate after Iowa’s technical debacle delayed results for days and undermined confidence in the vote, and Nevada’s caucus was dogged by security concerns. But Whitmire says the confidence is justified — largely because the primary is being run by professional election officials at the state and county level, unlike the caucuses that were run by those states’ Democratic parties. “After Iowa, there were a lot of questions about is that going to happen [here]? And, if not, why not? Well, we do this every week. It’s what we do,” he said.

Full Article: The Cybersecurity 202: South Carolina election officials confident the primary will go smoothly. Here's what they're up against. - The Washington Post.