ExpressVote XL

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Pennsylvania: Pushing buttons: No one in City offices approved new voting machines, so why did 83 arrive in Philadelphia? | Courtenay Harris Bond/Philadelphia Weekly

The brouhaha over the buying of new voting machines for the city reached a crescendo when 83 of the most expensive and least secure varieties – according to voters’ rights advocates – arrived in Philadelphia last week. The machines toured by a crew from a local television station before the procurement process had been finalized. That move subsequently has raised lots of eyebrows and questions and now has the whole affair under investigation by City controller’s Rebecca Rhynhart’s office. City Commissioner Lisa Deeley, who has recused herself from sitting on the commission because she is running for re-election, gave NBC10 a look at the ES&S Express Vote XL machines, which cost about $8,000 each and which advocates from Protect Our Vote Philly Coalition and other groups say are less reliable and less protected against tampering than paper ballot systems with scanners. “I think they we picked the worst, most expensive, least secure machines, unfortunately,” said Democratic commissioner candidate Jen Devor, who is running in a pool of 12 other Democrats, including Deeley, in the May 21 primary.

Full Article: Pushing buttons: No one in City offices approved new voting machines, so why did 83 arrive in Philly? | News | philadelphiaweekly.com.

Pennsylvania: Mayor on Philadelphia Controller’s Voting Machine Objections: “I Don’t Know What Her Problem Is” | Philadelphia Magazine

Mayor Jim Kenney has come out swinging in defense of the city’s looming purchase of more than $50 million worth of new voting machines that critics say are too expensive, susceptible to hackers, and the product of a tainted procurement process. On Monday, the City Commissioners’ Office, which oversees elections, took delivery of 83 new ExpressVoteXL machines worth about $8,000 each, or some $664,000, without benefit of a contract, public vote, or any money appropriated to pay for it. City controller Rebecca Rhynhart has publicly pledged to block the purchase of the machines because she’s “deeply concerned about the legality of this process.” “We believe we’re right,” the mayor insisted in a brief interview following a press conference on economic development at City Hall on Thursday. “We think she’s wrong; we did our due diligence. I don’t know what her problem is.” At a Wednesday meeting of the county Board of Elections, city commissioner Anthony Clark stated that he personally “was not aware … that these machines would be here.” “How these machines came, I don’t know,” Clark said. “Who’s paying for them, I don’t know.” At the meeting, Clark asserted that the delivery was in violation of the state Sunshine Law, because no vote had ever been taken by the commissioners. “No decisions should be made without the board knowing what’s going on,” Clark said.

Full Article: Kenney on Controller’s Voting Machine Objections: “I Don’t Know What Her Problem Is”.

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia city controller says she will block payment for controversial new voting machines | Philadelphia Inquirer

Philadelphia City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart says she will not approve payment for new voting machines that will cost the city tens of millions of dollars. “I’m deeply concerned about the legality of this process,” she said in a statement Tuesday night, “and as city controller, I will not release $1 of payment while these questions go unanswered.” Until her office completes an investigation of the voting-machine selection process, including accusations that it was biased to favor electronic voting machines over paper ones that voters fill out manually, Rhynhart said she won’t sign off on payment. Her approval is one of several that are required along the way when the city purchases new equipment or services. “We need a pause to say, ‘What is going on here?’ ” Rhynhart said in an interview Wednesday morning. “And I’m not going to be releasing any payment until it’s very clear that all procurement rules and city processes were followed in this procurement, because right now I have doubts.” It’s unclear what would happen if Rhynhart refuses the payment after machines are delivered and implementation begins. Dozens have already arrived.

Full Article: Philly city controller says she will block payment for controversial new voting machines.

Delaware: Making each vote count | Sussex Living

Voters heading to the school board elections next month will find something new: updated voting machines, the first major change in more than 20 years to the way the First State casts ballots. Its time had come, State Election Commissioner Elaine Manlove said. The old machines, from 1996, were obsolete. “The process actually started a few years ago,” she said. “The ballots in the old machines were using Windows XP, and that’s not supported anymore.” Realizing the need, the General Assembly in 2016 formed a Voting Equipment Selection Task Force with Manlove as its chairwoman. Manlove was tasked to research and select up to five vendors for presentation to the task force by March 2017. The committee would recommend which would get a state contract. The panel, however, did not get to work until March 2017, not wrapping up until about three months later. Manlove said a lack of available appointees from the incoming Carney administration and delays by the state Senate in appointing its members to the panel accounted for the lack of progress. Before the task force released any information on the vendors, Delaware’s nonpartisan Common Cause group published the bid documents online and, at the same time, advocated for a paper ballot system it argued was less expensive and not subject to some of the security woes of other electronic systems.

Full Article: Making each vote count - News - Sussex Living - Dover, DE.

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia elections officials won’t overturn controversial voting-machine decision | Philadelphia Inquirer

The two judges acting as Philadelphia’s elections officials won’t overturn the three-member election board’s selection of new voting machines, a setback for watchdogs and advocates who have been criticizing the choice and urging officials to start over. Instead, Common Pleas Court Judge Giovanni Campbell wrote Wednesday to City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart, he will allow the Feb. 20 voting-machine decision to stand. “I recognize that voting systems are contested issues and people feel passionately about the systems that will be used for their exercise of a core constitutional right. And I am grateful that you and others have been voicing those concerns to the Board of Elections,” Campbell wrote. “However, I do not believe the Board of Elections should overrule its prior legitimate determinations.” Advocates have for weeks implored Campbell and another judge, Vincent Furlong, to invalidate the selection, arguing among other things that it was an illegal vote and that the choice was not in voters’ best interests.

Full Article: Philly elections officials won’t overturn controversial voting-machine decision.

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia controller subpoenas city elections officials over voting machine decision | Philadelphia Inquirer

Philadelphia City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart last week subpoenaed the city’s elections officials for documents related to the controversial selection of new voting machines. Rhynhart’s subpoena is the most-pointed official effort known to date to obtain information about a voting machine selection process that critics have decried as opaque, lacking true public input, and biased. The items requested in the subpoena, dated April 1, include copies of all proposals received, the names of all committee members who scored them, and copies of those evaluations. The information was originally due by Tuesday, but the City Commissioners’ Office was granted an extension. (The new deadline was unclear Thursday; the Controller’s Office declined to comment on the subpoena.) Nick Custodio, deputy commissioner under Chairwoman Lisa Deeley, said only that the city’s Law Department “is handling everything as it relates to the request” from Rhynhart. He declined to comment further.

Full Article: Voting Machine Selection Prompts Subpoena in Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia commissioner breaks silence to criticize voting machine decision and call for new selection | Philadelphia Inquirer

Philadelphia City Commissioner Anthony Clark, who rarely says anything at board meetings and has a reputation for not showing up to work, suddenly spoke up Wednesday to say he favors invalidating the city’s choice of voting machines and restarting the selection process. His comments, which caught nearly everyone by surprise, were delivered almost casually during the commissioners’ weekly meeting, after City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart urged the elections officials to nullify the controversial selection of new systems. “Today I request that this body vacate the commissioners’ earlier decision and draft and reissue a new, fair” request for proposals, Rhynhart said after calling the selection process opaque and biased. “Please don’t deny Philadelphia’s voters a true voice in the selection of these machines.” Clark, who had not spoken publicly about the decision and did not cast a vote when the commissioners chose the system, responded: “Well, I’d just like to say that I do support your recommendation. That’s all I have to say at this time.” Advocates have for months implored Philadelphia election officials to select a hand-marked paper ballot system rather than the ES&S ExpressVoteXL system that was chosen Feb. 20 have accused the commissioners of illegally selecting that machine and called for that vote to be nullfied.

Full Article: Philly commissioner breaks silence to criticize voting machine decision and call for new selection.

New York: Questions Over Mike Ryan Pushing for ES&S Voting Machines | NY1

The city’s Board of Elections is arguing it may need some new voting machines because of early voting, but the board’s leader is pushing for machines made by a company he has benefited from, raising questions of conflicts of interest. For almost 10 years, New York City has used the same type of voting machine: An optical scanner. But now, the city Board of Elections may want to try something else. It’s a new machine called the ExpressVote XL, and it’s made by the major voting machine manufacturer, Election Systems and Software (ES&S). In a letter exclusively obtained by NY1, the city asked the state Board of Elections this week to possibly use the new machine for early voting this year. It says using paper ballots would be virtually impossible. That’s because there will be far fewer poll sites open for early voting than on a traditional election day. Officials question whether every site would be able to keep all of the different ballot configurations for each election district, and this ExpressVote XL machine uses a touch screen to vote instead. But there is a problem: The state Board of Elections has not certified or fully tested this machine for use in New York. The city Board of Elections is essentially asking state officials to skirt that approval process, specifically asking permission from the state board to use the machine in this fall’s general election. The letter states “time is of the essence.” It is signed by two people. One is the executive director of the board, Michael Ryan. One leader of the state Board of Elections immediately dismissed the city board’s request: “What annoyed me most about the letter is it doesn’t seem to understand the reason for New York’s certification for voting equipment,” state Board of Elections Co-Chair Douglas Kellner said. “We have to recognize that there are security risks.”

Full Article: Questions Over Mike Ryan Pushing for ES&S Voting Machines.

National: State election officials opt for 2020 voting machines vulnerable to hacking | Politico

Election officials in some states and cities are planning to replace their insecure voting machines with technology that is still vulnerable to hacking. The machines that Georgia, Delaware, Philadelphia and perhaps many other jurisdictions will buy before 2020 are an improvement over the totally paperless devices that have generated controversy for more than 15 years, election security experts and voting integrity advocates say. But they warn that these new machines still pose unacceptable risks in an election that U.S. intelligence officials expect to be a prime target for disruption by countries such as Russia and China. The new machines, like the ones they’re replacing, allow voters to use a touchscreen to select their choices. But they also print out a slip of paper with the vote both displayed in plain text and embedded in a barcode — a hard copy that, in theory, would make it harder for hackers to silently manipulate the results. Security experts warn, however, that hackers could still manipulate the barcodes without voters noticing. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine has also warned against trusting the barcode-based devices without more research, saying they “raise security and verifiability concerns.”

Full Article: State election officials opt for 2020 voting machines vulnerable to hacking - POLITICO.

National: New ‘Hybrid’ Voting System Can Change Paper Ballot After It’s Been Cast | WhoWhatWhy

For years, election security experts have assured us that, if properly implemented, paper ballots and routine manual audits can catch electronic vote tally manipulation. Unfortunately, there is no universal definition of “paper ballot,” which has enabled vendors and their surrogates to characterize machine-marked paper printouts from hackable ballot marking devices (BMDs) as “paper ballots.” Unlike hand-marked paper ballots, voters must print and inspect these machine-marked “paper ballots” to try to detect any fraudulent or erroneous votes that might have been marked by the BMD. The machine-marked ballot is then counted on a separate scanner.

Most independent cybersecurity election experts caution against putting these insecure BMDs between voters and their ballots and instead recommend hand-marked paper ballots as a primary voting system (reserving BMDs only for those who are unable to hand mark their ballots). But vendors and many election officials haven’t listened and are now pushing even more controversial “hybrid” systems that combine both a BMD and a scanner into a single unit. These too are now sold for use as a primary voting system.

Unlike hand-marked paper ballots counted on scanners and regular non-hybrid BMDs,  these new hybrid systems can add fake votes to the machine-marked “paper ballot” after it’s been cast, experts warn. Any manual audit based on such fraudulent “paper ballots” would falsely approve an illegitimate electronic outcome. According to experts, the hybrid voting systems with this alarming capability include the ExpressVote hybrid by Election Systems & Software, LLC (ES&S), the ExpressVote XL hybrid by ES&S, and the Image Cast Evolution hybrid by Dominion Voting.

Full Article: New 'Hybrid' Voting System Can Change Paper Ballot After It’s Been Cast - WhoWhatWhy.

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: 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.

New Jersey: State to begin using newer, more secure voting machine – experts say the state is making a new mistake in the process | News12

New Jersey election officials are taking steps to replace the state’s outdated voting machines, which are vulnerable to hacking. But some experts say the state is making a new mistake in the process. Voters in New Jersey use some of the oldest, least secure voting machines in America. Ten years ago, Princeton professor Andrew Appel demonstrated the machines could be hacked. They also produce no paper backup, so Appel says, “You can’t really recount or audit. Whatever the computer says, whether it’s hacked or not, is what you have to rely on.”  That may soon change. New Jersey election director Robert Giles says all 21 county election boards are on board with transitioning to new machines that produce voter-verified paper trails. Enter the ExpressVote XL, being used for the first time next week in Westfield, before being rolled out Union County-wide. County election officials let Kane In Your Corner test the equipment, which features a 32-inch touch screen.

Full Article: KIYC: Union County to begin using newer, more secure voting mach.

Delaware: First new voting machines in decades are on their way | Delaware News Journal

Delaware lawmakers on Monday approved a $13 million contract for Election Systems & Software to supply roughly 1,500 of its new ExpressVote XL voting machines, the state’s first new voting system in decades. But some watchdogs are questioning whether state officials chose the best equipment when they chose to purchase a new and largely unproven voting system. “They had it in their minds to choose this system regardless of the facts about it,” said Jennifer Hill, director of Common Cause Delaware. “This system is brand new so we don’t know what to expect.” Those claims did not dissuade lawmakers Monday from approving a $13 million contract to buy a fleet of new voting machines, along with new systems for registering voters, checking them in at their polling places and counting absentee ballots.

Full Article: Delaware's first new voting machines in decades are on their way.

Delaware: Task force approves new voting system for Delaware amid criticism | Delaware First Media

A task force charged with finding new voting machines for Delaware made its decision Tuesday. The task force voted unanimously to award the contract to Election Systems and Software. Its voting machines creates a paper ballot that it marks and tabulates for the voter. But some advocates like Stan Merriman criticized the task force, saying its work lacked transparency and it failed to consult outside experts. “Instead the task force bill treated this historic event as just another routine purchase of machines, failing to imagine a different future,” he said. “Again, machines over methods.” Jennifer Hill with Common Cause Delaware says other states using ESS’s machines have experienced some issues. Some advocates were also upset the new system doesn’t include paper ballots that voters fill out themselves or a vote by mail system.

Full Article: Task force approves new voting system for Delaware amid criticism | Delaware First Media.