Rhode Island: State buys 590 new voting machines | Associated Press

Rhode Island is acquiring 590 new electronic voting machines that will be used for the fall elections. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea on Thursday unveiled the new equipment, which replaces machines from the 1990s. The Democrat says the vote-scanners will be secure and report results quickly because they use wireless technology. The paper ballot will be different from what Rhode Island voters have used for many years. Voters will now fill in ovals instead of connecting arrows.

Indiana: Hancock County residents, officials debate primary debacle | Greenfield Reporter

Marcia Moore wasn’t going to address the crowd. The Hancock County clerk didn’t plan to give a formal speech to residents gathered during a special meeting Tuesday to address problems, including long lines and equipment failures, that plagued May’s election — which left the county without results until 24 hours after polls closed. The Hancock County Election Board called the meeting to give the county’s election software company the opportunity to come before the board to discuss what changes it’s making to prevent such problems in the future. Residents were also invited and given the chance to address the election board, which answered questions as they popped up but didn’t plan to make a formal presentation to the crowd. But after voters and candidates who attended the public meeting complained for nearly 30 minutes about long lines, unprepared staff and a faulty voting system, Moore spoke up. She told residents if they’re unhappy with Hancock County’s voting system, to get involved: volunteer to be a poll worker or vote early.

Texas: Lawsuit claims Hidalgo County voting machines ‘either faulty or tampered with’ | KGBT

Voting machines in western Hidalgo County were “either faulty or tampered with” to rig the Democratic Party primary runoff election, according to a lawsuit filed Monday. Bail bondsman Arnaldo Corpus — who challenged Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 Place 2 Marcos Ochoa in the primary — filed the lawsuit. Ochoa won 54 percent of 6,625 ballots cast, defeating Corpus, according to results published by the Hidalgo County Elections Department. Corpus, though, claims the Elections Department count isn’t correct.

West Virginia: Fayette County will stick with paper ballots | Fayette Tribune

Fayette County’s General Election results in November should come in more quickly than they did in this month’s primary, but for the county commission, moving away from paper ballots completely is not a viable option. County Clerk Kelvin Holliday said all three early voting locations will offer only electronic voting in November. Earlier this month it took county employees more than three hours just to run early voting and absentee ballots through the paper ballot machine. Final results were not released until after 3 a.m. The county expects to have six iVotronic voting machines in Fayetteville for early voting, which is the busiest of the three early voting locations. By switching to electronic early voting, they hope ballot counting time will be cut down, but making the entire election electronic voting only isn’t possible.

Arkansas: In 5 counties, ballot systems set for update | Arkansas Online

Secretary of State Mark Martin will provide an estimated $2.1 million worth of new voting equipment to five counties, his office announced Tuesday. The five counties are Chicot, Cleveland, Jackson, Randolph and Washington. The counties are scheduled to receive the voting equipment and have it operational for the upcoming school elections in September, the Republican secretary of state said. They will join five other counties for which the state this year purchased new election equipment, at a cost of nearly $3 million. The voting equipment will include new voting machines, tabulating machines and software. The counties will use the Express Vote Universal Voting System, which is a touch-screen machine, said Chris Powell, a spokesman for Martin.

Arkansas: State awards Washington County $1.2 million in new voting equipment | Arkansas Online

The state has awarded Washington County about $1.2 million of election equipment, said Jennifer Price, election commission coordinator. “We are getting the new voting equipment,” Price said. “We’re excited.” The Quorum Court accepted the equipment during its meeting Thursday. The county put aside $420,000 for the equipment. Election commissioners have said they were worried the state wouldn’t provide equipment in time for the general election Nov. 8, which is expected to have a large voter turnout. The county’s equipment is from 2006 and was starting to break down, Price said.

Indiana: Software glitch leaves 2,012 votes incomplete in Hancock County primary | Indiana Economic Digest – Indiana

Catastrophic. Marcia Moore summed up Tuesday’s election in one word. Sitting in the basement of the Hancock County Courthouse Annex on election night, the county clerk shook her head in disgust. Software glitches. Equipment failures. More than 2,000 ballots with errors. Sixteen local contests were left in limbo Tuesday night after election workers learned late in the day that a software error caused entire races to be left off voters’ ballots at five of the county’s 12 polling sites, Moore said. And there’s no way to identify or alert the 2,012 voters who didn’t have a say in those races — a fact Hancock County attorney Ray Richardson said will likely trigger a special election to start the process over. … The software error was one of a number of problems that plagued the local election, Moore said.

Maryland: New voting machines debut with few reported glitches | The Washington Post

Despite fears of a botched debut of Maryland’s new voting machines, state election officials say they received few reports of glitches and voter confusion in Tuesday’s primary. The election marked Maryland’s long-awaited switch to paper ballots tallied by scanner, nearly a decade after lawmakers decided to ditch electronic machines that leave no paper trail. Late last year, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and his administration raised concerns about election officials’ rushing the new machines into service. They relented when the machine vendor, Election Systems and Software, offered to devote additional staff and resources on a successful rollout.

Arkansas: 7 election commissioners ask state for new poll equipment | Arkansas Online

Election commissioners from seven counties in Northwest Arkansas decided Wednesday to ask legislators to pay for new software and equipment before the November elections. Commissioners said they are worried upgrades won’t happen before the general election Nov. 8. Equipment and software are old and could break down, commissioners said during the Northwest Arkansas County Boards of Election Commissioners meeting. “We are in a dire situation,” said Bill Taylor, Crawford County commissioner. “The old stuff is gradually failing,” said John Lyon, Crawford County commission chairman.

Arkansas: Jefferson County election chief urges inquiry at courthouse; access to voting machines by one campaign reported | Arkansas Online

At least one campaign in Tuesday’s runoff elections in Jefferson County had access to voting machines and voting records at the Jefferson County Courthouse after hours Monday evening, according to the election commission chairman. Michael Adam, chairman of the Jefferson County Election Commission, called for Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Kyle Hunter to review courthouse surveillance footage after it was reported that workers for Jefferson County judge candidate Henry “Hank” Wilkins IV’s campaign “went places in the courthouse they weren’t supposed to be.” Adam said it wasn’t clear whether the workers would have been able to manipulate voting records, but he said they could have accessed voter sign-in sheets and voting machines.

Alabama: Irregularity prompts Dale County to change voting machine process | Dothan Eagle

Cities and towns in Dale County that believed they rented voting machines from the Dale County Commission for past elections were actually renting those machines from a former county employee, Dale County Commission Chairman Mark Blankenship said Tuesday. Blankenship said he will send letters to municipalities in the county addressing changes on how to obtain voting machines for upcoming elections after confusion over how the process was handled before. For the municipal elections this summer, Blankenship said the municipalities will be able to rent the machines from Election Systems & Software (ES & S). The county obtains its machines from ES&S as well. Blankenship said the decision came after discovering that in years past, a former county employee who had access to the county’s voting machines would take vacation from the county job in order to operate a company called Voting Machines Technology, in which municipalities were billed between $200 and $500 for use of the county’s voting machines.

Michigan: Primary ballot snafus arise in Detroit | The Detroit News

Balloting problems came to light in Detroit on Wednesday, one day after U.S. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders pulled off a shocking upset of front-runner Hillary Clinton in the Michigan Democratic primary. Wayne County Board of Canvassers officials discovered that a handful of Detroit precincts registered zero votes during balloting. Memory cards for three precincts showed no votes cast, while five absentee ballot precincts were uploaded Wednesday as zero, acknowledged Daniel Baxter, director of Detroit elections. Canvassers will have to review the ballots in those precincts, but Baxter said they’re unlikely to change the results. Sanders won the statewide contest by 18,350 votes — 595,073 to 576,723 — and the precincts at issue had about 1,500 votes, Baxter said. Another estimate at the canvassers meeting put the tally at closer to 5,000 voters. “This will have no effect on the outcome,” Baxter said.

Maryland: Congressional candidate David Trone: Machines for disabled voters are ‘unfit’ | The Washington Post

Attorneys for congressional candidate David Trone are demanding that Maryland election officials overhaul the use of touch-screen machines that are to be used by disabled voters in the April primary — but are not programmed to display all candidates on a single screen. The State Board of Elections voted last month to abandon these machines for general use in early voting because it is difficult to navigate long lists of candidates and could disadvantage those with last names at the end of the alphabet — including Trone, U.S. Senate candidate Chris Van Hollen (D) and GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump. Election officials are keeping the touch-screen machines available for voters with disabilities, including blind people, who can’t easily use the alternative paper ballots that are being rolled out during early voting and the April 26 election. Trone’s campaign objected to elections officials continuing to sanction machines for disabled voters that it deemed “unfit” for general use.

Nebraska: Ballot-counting machine purchased for Gage County | Beatrice Daily Sun

Votes cast in Gage County for the 2016 elections will be processed through a new machine aimed to tally more quickly and with fewer issues. The County Board voted unanimously to purchase a DS850 machine from Omaha-based Election Systems and Software (ES and S) during its Wednesday meeting. Dawn Hill, County Clerk and Election Commissioner, said the current machine, a 650 model, is prone to several issues, adding hours to the counting process on election night. “The machine that we currently have now, I did confirm with ES and S and that was manufactured in 1996,” Hill said. “We have issues with slow ballots, jamming, it stops. It does read correct — I want to make sure everyone knows we do not have a problem with reading the ballots and totaling the votes. We do have an audit performed.”

Maine: New accessible voting system will accommodate voters with disabilities | The Portland Press Herald

The state will debut new voting devices during the June primaries that will make it easier for voters with disabilities to cast secret ballot. The ExpressVote system has a video display screen and built-in ballot printer. It’s both audio and visual, allowing a voter to make selections by touching the screen or using a controller that has different-shaped colored buttons with Braille labels. Before this new device was chosen by the Secretary of State’s Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions, towns used a phone line that allows voters with disabilities to listen to an audio ballot and select the choices by pressing a button. A few hundred voters used those devices, according to Julie Flynn, deputy secretary of state. She hopes the ExpressVote system will attract many more potential voters. “I think it’s more intuitive,” she said. “I don’t think it takes as much instruction as the one we had.”

Arkansas: Updated election machines unveiled | Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette

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.

Maryland: State ditches touch screen machines for early voting | Baltimore Sun

Early voters in April’s primary will cast their ballots on paper that will be scanned by a machine — just as election day voters will — after Maryland elections officials on Thursday nixed the use of touch screen machines for early voting. The change was made after elections officials said they realized that many primary contests will feature long lists of candidates that can’t fit on one screen, and some candidates threatened legal action for being stuck on a second or third screen. “The fairest, most viable and reasonable solution is paper ballots,” said Patrick J. Hogan, a former state senator who is vice chairman of the Maryland State Board of Elections. Board members voted 5-0 in favor of the switch to paper ballots for early voting.

Maryland: State may scrap touch-screen machines for early voting, too | The Washington Post

Maryland’s top election official wants to ditch touch-screen machines in favor of paper ballots for early voting before the April primaries because the electronic machines can’t display all candidates on the same screen. Candidates with last names further down the alphabet — including GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump, Democratic Senate candidate Chris Van Hollen, Republican Senate contender Kathy Szeliga and Democratic House candidate David Trone — may be at a disadvantage because of the format, Elections Administrator Linda Lamone said. In addition, it can be difficult to use the touch screens to navigate between multiple pages of candidates. “It would cause confusion to voters, and it would take them a lot more time to vote,” Lamone said in an interview. The State Board of Elections has called an emergency meeting for Thursday to address the problem.

District of Columbia: Old machines and missing dollars. Is D.C. ready for an election? | The Washington Post

Elections in the District have been handicapped by faulty voting machines, inadequate polling staff, inaccessible polling stations and delays in vote tallying. And yet it is unclear whether any of those problems will have been remedied by the time the District holds its next major election in six months. These are the concerns held by D.C. Council member Kenyan R. McDuffie and a handful of other close observers of the city’s election process who say the D.C. Board of Elections appears to have made no clear progress toward fixing its long-standing problems ahead of the June ­primary contests or addressed how the board has managed millions of dollars in federal funds. As of last week, a full month after board members testified before the D.C. Council that they were unaware of how much new voting machines would cost, the board still had not determined whether it can afford to purchase new ones or whether it will lease them. The potential lengthiness of the city’s procurement process also raises the question of ­whether the board will have enough time to test the machines and train election workers, if it does acquire new ones.

Nebraska: Senator eyes aging election technology challenge | Lincoln Journal Star

Nebraska needs to confront what may be a $20 million challenge in replacing its rapidly aging electronic election technology, Sen. Matt Hansen of Lincoln believes. Hansen introduced a legislative resolution (LR403) Tuesday to create an election technology commission to study the feasibility and cost of replacing election equipment throughout the state, including machines used by disabled voters and to count votes. “The machines may last another cycle or two, but it’s time to think about their replacements,” Hansen said. “We’re in uncharted waters,” he said. “The purpose of this resolution is to find a solution to the $20 million question: Who is going to purchase new machines?”

Idaho: Boundary County now has new electronic voting tabulators, will be used in upcoming March Presidential Primary | Newsbf

Elections and voting in Boundary County will take a technological leap forward this year. Two months from today is the Idaho Presidential Primary election, scheduled for March 8. Boundary County voters on that day will find there has been a substantial change in how they cast their ballots. Up until now, ballots in Boundary County were counted by humans, and by hand. Four or five poll workers staffed the vote counting rooms. One worker would read each ballot aloud, one at a time, while a second worker observed closely as a witness to make sure the ballot was read correctly. Two or three other poll workers would tally votes as the ballots were read. After every 25 ballots, they would stop, and the workers tallying the votes would compare and balance their counts to ensure all were recording the same totals. Poll workers in the counting rooms were not allowed to leave the room until all votes were counted.

Maryland: Paper ballots among changes this election year | Herald Mail

Maryland voters will now have paper ballots they can review before finally submitting them this election season, and the Hagerstown races will be nonpartisan, the director of the Washington County Election Board said. State officials decided in 2007 to return to paper balloting, once the state had the funding available, so there will be a voter-verifiable paper trail, according to Washington County Election Director Kaye Robucci and the State Board of Elections’ website. If voters participate in early voting, they will use a machine with a touchscreen to select their choices, but that machine will print out a paper ballot that allows voters to review their choices before submitting the ballot officially, Robucci said.

Minnesota: Aging voting machines may take bite out of budgets | Rochester Post-Bulletin

With most of Wabasha County’s voting machines about to turn eight years old, Wabasha County Auditor/Treasurer Denise Anderson isn’t taking any chances. Anderson is urging cities and townships to start squirreling away money for when it’s time to replace the machines. “I’ve asked them to start putting money away now, because I feel there is not going to be any (state or federal) money when we need it,” she said. Wabasha County is far from alone when it comes to aging voting machines. A recent report by the Brennan Center for Justice found that 43 states will be using electronic voting machines that are at least a decade old in 2016 — including Minnesota.

South Carolina: Busy election year will test aging voting machines | Independent Mail

Millions of ballots will be cast in South Carolina next year on voting machines that are wearing out after a decade of use. Anderson County voters will use 464 of the machines at 80 polling places in presidential primaries in February, state primaries in June and the November general election. Some of the iVotronic machines have needed new touch screens and batteries, said Katy Smith, Anderson County’s elections director. It’s also getting harder to find replacement parts for the machines, which are no longer manufactured, she said.

District of Columbia: No Leader, Old Voting Machines: D.C.’s Election Agency Faces Multiple Challenges | WAMU

With only seven months left until D.C. voters cast ballots in the 2016 primary, the agency in charge of running the city’s elections remains without top leadership — and on Wednesday struggled to explain whether it has the money to buy new voting machines it says it needs. The issues were at the forefront of a hearing in a D.C. Council committee, where Council member Kenyan McDuffie expressed frustration with the challenges facing the D.C. Board of Elections as the city enters an election year. “This is too precarious a situation,” McDuffie said. “I remain concerned about the board’s direction.” Some of the issues aren’t new, and in the past have resulted in technical glitches that delayed the reporting of election results — most recently in the April 2014 mayoral primary. But one board-watcher said Wednesday that they may be getting worse.

Maryland: Officials insist new voting machines on track despite warnings | The Washington Post

Voters in Maryland will be casting their votes with black pens and paper ballots in the upcoming presidential primary, nearly a decade after lawmakers decided to get rid of touch-screen machines that leave no paper trail. The search for new equipment was mired in delays and setbacks before the state finally approved a $28 million contract last December. And even with the new ballots and scanners in hand, Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration has raised questions in recent weeks about whether the state is headed for disaster in its rush to get them up and running. Rockville and College Park deployed the new machines without trouble in their fall municipal elections, but the April 26 primary election will be the first statewide test of the new system. Voters will be casting ballots in the presidential primary and in heated races to nominate candidates to succeed Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) in the U.S. Senate and to fill two open congressional seats.

Minnesota: Secretary of state wants to replace aging voting machines | Pioneer Press

Minnesota’s aging voting machines are wearing out and will soon need to be replaced. That’s the message Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said he heard “loud and clear” from local officials during his recently completed tour of all 87 Minnesota counties. Most cities, counties and townships use electronic election equipment that is at least 10 years old and getting close to its “10- to 15-year useful lifespan — and 15 is sort of a stretch,” Simon said in a recent interview. There’s a growing risk the voting machines will fail or crash, resulting in lost votes or long lines at polling places. “I’m hearing loudly and clearly from election administrators and others concerned about elections that this is an issue we need to address sooner rather than later and not wait until it becomes a crisis — and they need help,” Simon said.

Arkansas: New voting machines arrive in Boone County | Harrison Daily

The first shipment of new election equipment for Boone County was delivered in the pouring rain Tuesday afternoon and secured in the new election central location, the former Vision Video building. The Secretary of State’s Office earlier this year chose Election Systems and Software of Omaha, Nebraska, as the vendor to replace the state’s voting machines. Boone County was chosen as one of four counties in a pilot program to begin using the new machines by the March 2016 primary election. ES&S’s bid of $29,928,868 was the highest of three companies interested, but Boone County Clerk Crystal Graddy said in June that it was the only company who had the necessary machines in stock in a warehouse and could deliver them quickly, in time for the 2016 primary election.

Florida: Sarasota County agrees to borrow $1.65 million for new voting equipment | Your Observer

Sarasota County commissioners, at their Nov. 17 meeting, unanimously approved the purchase of a new voting system without a sealed bid process, after becoming dissatisfied with one of the two certified vendors in Florida. The county will pay $1.65 million for the system, to be purchased from Election Systems & Software (ES&S). That purchase will be paid for initially by a loan from the Pooled Commercial Paper Loan Program of the Florida Local Government Finance Commission Program, and repaid over seven years from the general fund. Because there were only two vendors available, one of which had been deemed operationally unacceptable, the county elected not to use a sealed-bid procurement process.