ExpressVote XL

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Pennsylvania: Election security advocates criticize Pennsylvania Department of State over re-examination of voting machines | Ed Mahon and Emily Previti/PA Post

Election security advocates are criticizing the Pennsylvania Department of State over the way it re-examined an electronic voting machine from a leading election technology company. “We are profoundly disappointed that the Secretary’s office has conducted this re-examination in secret, without transparency or public engagement, which we believe to be in contravention of the requirements of the Commonwealth and the provisions of the Stein settlement,” Susan Greenhalgh, vice-president of programs for the National Election Defense Coalition, said in a news release. “We are examining our options for further action.” Several other groups, including Protect Our Vote Philly and the Pennsylvania-based Citizens for Better Elections, joined in criticizing the state department. In July, Greenhalgh and other election security advocates submitted a petition to the Department of State, requesting a re-examination of the ES&S ExpressVote XL electronic voting machine. The petition included 200 signatures from voters across the state. “They’ve never refused to let the public come in and observe these systems,” said petitioner and VotePA founder Mary Beth Kuznik. “It’s distressing.”

Full Article: Election security advocates criticize Pa. Department of State over re-examination of voting machines | PA Post.

Editorials: Rage against the voting machines | Philadelphia Inquirer

The latest controversy over the city’s ongoing voting machines saga presents multiple choices of questions and concerns. Last week, City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart, while investigating the contract for new voting machines, found that the company, Election Systems & Software, failed to disclose that it had hired lobbyists and made campaign contributions to the reelection campaigns of two city commissioners who were in charge of selecting the vendor. These mistakes, which ES&S says were inadvertent, made the contract “voidable.” But so far the contract is moving ahead — 3,700 voting machines have already been delivered. ES&S has agreed to pay a $2.9 million fine for its failure to disclose. The Controller’s Office is withholding payment on the contract until it completes its investigation sometime next month. The choices for questions are multiple: Are the resulting disclosures (and fines) proof that the system is working, or A. An indictment of the city’s new best value procurement policy, initiated in 2017 when voters approved a change that allowed the city to award contracts on factors other than the lowest price? While overwhelmingly approved by voters, others (including this board) had concerns that the new policy opened the door to granting contracts to insiders and encouraging a pay-to-play culture, as well as more expensive contracts. The $30 million machine contract is the first major test of the new policy.

Full Article: Rage against the voting machines | Editorial.

Pennsylvania: ‘It’s disappointing’ Elections Board reaffirms $29M voting machine contract over objections, violations | Michael D’Onofrio/ Philadelphia Tribune

Objections from an official and activists did not prevent Philadelphia City Commissioners on Thursday from reaffirming a $29 million city contract with a voting system vendor that violated anti-pay-to-play laws.

The three-member commission voted 2-0-1 to continue a city contract with Election System & Software (ES&S) to supply new voting machines for the November election. Commissioner Anthony Clark, a Democrat, abstained from the vote.

Commissioners ignored requests by City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart to refrain from making a decision until her office completed an investigation into the procurement process for the new machines.

Rhynhart revealed this week that the Omaha-based company did not report donations and communications by its lobbyists in the run-up to winning the contract in February.

Rhynhart, a Democrat, said her investigation will wrap up in the coming weeks.

“It’s disappointing, but it’s not over,” she said.

While activists repeatedly shouted, Common Pleas Court Judge Giovanni Campbell, chairman of the commission, said it was the “right decision for Philadelphia” for ES&S to keep the contract.

“I do not believe this process should be overturned or restarted because of the issues that took place before the board” voted today, Campbell said during the meeting inside Room 246 in City Hall. He declined to comment further after the meeting.

City Commissioner Vincent Furlong, another judge, also voted to maintain the contract.

The city will slap ES&S with a $2.9 million fine over the violations, or 10% percent of the contract.

The city continues to withhold payment to ES&S during Rhynhart’s ongoing investigation.

The investigation

Rhynhart’s investigation so far has shown that ES&S used a lobbyist and engaged in lobbying activities in 2017 and 2018.

The lobbying activities included direct communication with then-City Commissioner Alan Schmidt.

ES&S also failed to disclose campaign contributions by consultants to Schmidt and then-City Commissioner Chairwoman Lisa Deeley.

Registered lobbying firms Duane Morris and Triad Strategies, who lobbied for ES&S, contributed $1,000 and $250, respectively, to a political action committee supporting Schmidt, Rhynhart found. Triad Strategies also made a $500 donation to a political action committee supporting Deeley.

Deeley, a Democrat, and Schmidt, a Republican, voted to award ES&S the contract to provide the new voting system, and KNOWiNK LLC to provide electronic poll books. City Commissioner Anthony Clark, a Democrat, did not cast a vote.

Both Deeley and Schmidt stepped down as city commissioners while they run for re-election. Clark is not running for another term and remains a city commissioner.

Campbell and Vincent Furlong, another judge, were appointed to fill the seats vacated by Deeley and Schmidt.

ES&S’s disclosure violations were unintentional and stemmed from a misunderstanding of the mandated disclosure requirements, said Alan Kessler, an attorney for Duane Morris, which was one of the two lobbying firms for ES&S who violated the city’s anti-pay-to-play laws.

Kessler, who noted another bidder for the voting system contract made similar violations, said the contacts and political contributions from ES&S lobbyists were still disclosed with the city, even though they were not noted in the company’s mandatory disclosure form for the bid.

“It is a classic case of no harm, no foul,” he said.

Activists and residents opposed to ES&S’s contract for the new voting system said the procurement process was tainted and lacked transparency, and claimed the machines were vulnerable to hacking.

“The reason that we have the disclosure laws is so we can reveal conflicts of interest and we can be aware of those or disqualify people from participating if they have conflicts,” said Kevin Skoglund of the nonpartisan organization Citizens for Better Elections.

A double standard?

Rhynhart laid out her findings in a letter this week to Campbell and others; she cited a city Law Department determination that the company’s violations warranted the contact was voidable.

The violations by ES&S were comparable to the issues that led the Kenney administration to disqualify the minority-owned company U.S. Facilities from bidding on a $17 million contract this year, Rhynhart noted in her letter.

U.S. Facilities, a subsidiary of PRWT Services, failed to disclose political campaign contributions totaling less than $500.

“The Kenney administration, at the time, stated that the value of the contribution is not relevant and that the City had little discretion to overlook these kinds of violations,” Rhynhart wrote.

The city’s anti-pay-to-play law disqualifies bidders from competing on contracts if their violations are discovered before a contract is awarded.

However, if the contract has already been awarded when the violations are discovered, the city “has the discretion to void the contract or maintain it,” according to a letter City Solicitor Marcel Pratt sent to the city commissioners this week.

In this instance, Pratt wrote, the “decision rests with the Board of Elections because the Board has the responsibility and sole authority to select the voting machines that are used for elections in Philadelphia.”

Pratt, in his letter, said ES&S would not have been disqualified from bidding on the contract if the company had made the disclosures on its application.

Mustafa Rashed, a spokesman for U.S. Facilities, declined to comment on Wednesday before the vote and could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

Machines are on their way

ES&S is expected to deliver the final 500 ExpressVote XL voting machines to the city this week, bringing the total to 3,700.

The city Board of Elections has held more than 200 public demonstrations of the new machines and trained more than 2,500 poll workers in anticipation to use the new system in the November election.

Gov. Tom Wolf mandated all counties select new, certified voting machines by the end of this year.

The new voting systems must be put into place by the 2020 general election to comply with the governor’s order to provide a paper record of votes cast. Philadelphia officials want to have the voting machines in place by the general election this year so their first use is not during a presidential election.

Pennsylvania was one of 21 states targeted ahead of the 2016 election by Russian government operatives.

Full Article: ‘It’s disappointing’ Elections Board reaffirms $29M voting machine contract over objections, violations | News | phillytrib.com.

Full Article: 'It’s disappointing' Elections Board reaffirms $29M voting machine contract over objections, violations | News | phillytrib.com.

Pennsylvania: Philladelphia’s voting-machine contract will move forward despite vendor’s failure to disclose its use of lobbyists | Jonathan Lai/Philadelphia Inquirer

Philadelphia’s acting board of elections voted Thursday to keep its current contract for new voting machines, days after the city’s legal department notified elections officials that the vendor had failed to disclose its lobbying activities. “In my opinion, the continued implementation of ES&S’s voting system … is the right decision for the city,” Judge Giovanni Campbell said at a meeting in City Hall, reading from a piece of paper. His comments, before voting to keep the contract, drew hisses and jeers of protest from dozens of people, many of whom had spoken during the meeting to urge him and the two other sitting board members to scrap the deal. “What’s the point of public comment?” one shouted. Another followed: “This is a charade!” Campbell, unmoved, stuck with his decision. “I do not believe that this process should be overturned or restarted,” he said, despite the revelation that Election Systems & Software (ES&S) had bid for the city contract without disclosing its use of lobbyists and those lobbyists’ donations, including to elections officials’ reelection campaigns. In a meeting and letter, the city solicitor told the elections board that the contract was now voidable and that ES&S is liable for a $2.9 million fine, equal to 10% of the contract. But the city’s procurement commissioner also warned in a letter that the process was far along and going smoothly, and that restarting would risk not having new voting machines in place by the April 2020 presidential primary election. On Thursday, the two judges serving on the board of elections agreed.

Full Article: Philly’s voting-machine contract will move forward despite vendor’s failure to disclose its use of lobbyists.

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia’s new voting-machine contract in jeopardy because vendor failed to disclose use of lobbyists, campaign contributions | Andrew Seidman/Philadelphia Inquirer

Six months after Philadelphia picked a vendor for its new voting machines, the contract is suddenly in jeopardy. City Solicitor Marcel S. Pratt notified the acting board of elections Monday that Election Systems & Software (ES&S) violated the city code by failing to disclose its use of lobbyists and the lobbyists’ campaign contributions, including to the two city commissioners who selected the system. The board of elections, normally composed of the city commissioners, will meet Thursday to decide whether to move forward with the contract. ES&S will be liable for a $2.9 million fine, Pratt wrote in his letter to the board, adding that it has agreed to pay the fine if the contract proceeds. Deputy City Commissioner Nick Custodio, the board’s spokesperson, said he would not comment until after Thursday’s meeting. Pratt also included a letter from the city’s procurement commissioner, Monique Nesmith-Joyner, who appeared to urge the commissioners to continue with the contract.

Full Article: Philly’s new voting-machine contract in jeopardy because vendor failed to disclose use of lobbyists, campaign contributions.

Pennsylvania: Citing election security, advocates seek to force Pennsylvania to reexamine new voting machines | Jonathan Lai/Philadelphia Inquirer

Organized by election-security advocates, 200 Pennsylvania voters filed a petition Tuesday seeking to force the Pennsylvania Department of State to reconsider its approval of a touchscreen voting machine selected by Philadelphia and other counties. Those machines, the ExpressVote XL from election mega-vendor Election Systems & Software (ES&S), have security flaws and do not comply with the state Election Code, the voters say in their petition submitted by certified mail and email Tuesday. It was signed by voters from Allegheny, Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, and Westmoreland Counties. The law gives voters authority to trigger a new state review of previously certified electronic voting machines. The petitioners lay out a number of concerns, including the possibility of attackers’ altering votes; ballot secrecy being violated by comparing the chronological stack of ballots to poll books; poll workers inadvertently seeing voters’ choices while helping them; and lack of accessibility for voters with disabilities. They also point to requirements in the Election Code that they say the machine does not meet, such as not using colored paper to distinguish between political parties during a primary election. An ES&S spokesperson rejected those contentions, saying the ExpressVote XL protects voters’ privacy, is accessible for voters with disabilities, and does not allow manipulation of ballots after they are cast.

Full Article: Citing election security, advocates seek to force Pa. to reexamine new voting machines.

New York: New Voting Machines Could Impact Need For Poll Translators | Kings County Politics

A new voting machine that has instructions and ballots in multiple languages could make the city’s hiring of translators outside of polling places obsolete in the near future. That after the state board of elections is reportedly looking at giving municipalities the green light to start using the ExpressVote XL machines if they so choose. Given that the city now offers voter the ability to register in 15 different languages, the machine has a touchscreen which allows for any language to be programmed, so that voters whose first language is not English can simply read the ballot in their preferred language without having to navigate a crowded ballot with small print and multiple languages on it. The machine uses touchscreen technology that displays only the language that the voter selects, making the ballot clear and easy to read.  The paper-based ExpressVote XL machines are also fully Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant, produce a verifiable paper record for tabulation.

Full Article: New Voting Machines Could Impact Need For Poll Translators.

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.