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Florida: Something Very Odd Happened With Broward County’s Ballots in the Florida Senate Election | Slate Kim

Florida has retained the championship belt for election shenanigans, as three statewide races could be headed for a recount. The gap between Rick Scott and Bill Nelson, in the election for the latter’s Senate seat, has only continued to narrow. The race was already within the 0.5 percent margin needed to trigger a recount on Wednesday, when Scott had roughly a 35,000-vote lead. That’s been cut in half to about 17,000 as ballots have continued to come in. While Scott is still the favorite to ultimately win, FiveThirtyEight has shifted the race from “likely Republican” to “lean Republican.” One reason for hope for Nelson is that a traditionally Democratic area, Broward County, has so far reported fewer votes for the Senate race compared with the gubernatorial race, according to data compiled by MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki. In other Florida counties, no such discrepancy exists. While some of the discrepancy could be due to genuine undervotes—for instance, the design of the ballot may have led some voters to miss it and not vote in that race—it’s possible that the county hasn’t correctly counted all the ballots. About 24,000 ballots in Broward County registered a vote in the governor’s race but not for the Senate race. Read More

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New Jersey election officials are taking steps to replace the state’s outdated voting machines, which are vulnerable to hacking.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. Read More

Kansas: With 3.5 weeks until election, Johnson County gets certification for update to voting machine software that caused reporting delays in August | Shawnee Mission Post

Officials have signed off on a patched version of the software program that will power Johnson County’s voting system next month. The question is, will it work? A month and a half after the company announced it had rewritten the portion of its software program that led to massive reporting delays in the August primary elections, Election Systems & Software has received federal and state certification for the software’s use in the Nov. 6 general election, Johnson County announced today. ES&S submitted the corrected software program to the Election Assistance Commission for review on Sept. 5 and received notice of certification on Oct. 4. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office announced today that it was granting state certification to the system as well. Read More

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. Read More

Verified Voting Blog: Serious design flaw in ESS ExpressVote touchscreen: “permission to cheat” | Andrew Appel

This article was originally posted at the Freedom to Tinker blog.

Kansas, Delaware, and New Jersey are in the process of purchasing voting machines with a serious design flaw, and they should reconsider while there is still time!

Over the past 15 years, almost all the states have moved away from paperless touchscreen voting systems (DREs) to optical-scan paper ballots.  They’ve done so because if a paperless touchscreen is hacked to give fraudulent results, there’s no way to know and no way to correct; but if an optical scanner were hacked to give fraudulent results, the fraud could be detected by a random audit of the paper ballots that the voters actually marked, and corrected by a recount of those paper ballots.

Optical-scan ballots marked by the voters are the most straightforward way to make sure that the computers are not manipulating the vote.  Second-best, in my opinion, is the use of a ballot-marking device (BMD), where the voter uses a touchscreen to choose candidates, then the touchscreen prints out an optical-scan ballot that the voter can then deposit in a ballot box or into an optical scanner.  Why is this second-best?  Because (1) most voters are not very good at inspecting their computer-marked ballot carefully, so hacked BMDs could change some choices and the voter might not notice, or might notice and think it’s the voter’s own error; and (2) the dispute-resolution mechanism is unclear; pollworkers can’t tell if it’s the machine’s fault or your fault; at best you raise your hand and get a new ballot, try again, and this time the machine “knows” not to cheat. Read More

Delaware: New $12 million voting machines will provide ‘paper trail’ | Delaware State News

Delaware is set to have new voting machines for the 2020 presidential election, with the goal of putting them in place by May’s school board elections. A task force given the responsibility of approving a contract with a vendor to replace the current machines unanimously approved the selection Tuesday, although the choice must still go before the Joint Committee on Capital Improvement. That committee will meet Monday, enabling lawmakers to review and vote on the selection of Election Systems & Software. If the contract is approved, the company will provide machines and other products, including a new database application, to the state. The cost has not been publicly released and will remain private unless the contract is finalized. Officials have up to $13 million to spend, with $3 million of that coming from the federal government and the rest coming from state funds allocated in the capital bond bill. Read More

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. Read More

Kansas: ‘This makes no sense’: Johnson County knows election delay’s cause. Critics skeptical of fix | The Kansas City Star

Faulty software code was to blame for an overnight delay in Johnson County’s primary election night results, an embarrassing ordeal that kept people across the country waiting for the outcome to several high-profile Kansas races. “The slow reporting of results was unacceptable and we apologize,” Tom Burt, president and CEO of Election Systems & Software, said in a statement Monday. “We know the election office and other Johnson County government leaders put their faith in us and we let down our valued partners.” Burt went on to say that the Omaha-based company, the county’s elections vendor, has rewritten the portion of the code that caused the delay and initial tests of that new code were successful. He said testing will continue so the new software can be certified prior to the general election. … “The big issue apparently is that they didn’t test this system at scale,” said Duncan Buell, professor of computer science and engineering at the University of South Carolina, who has studied that state’s election results extensively. “You need to test for all possible scenarios.” Read More

Texas: Travis County approves purchase of $8M paper-trail voting system | Austin American-Statesman

It might not be the first-of-its-kind, open-source software voting system that Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir has sought for more than a decade, but the county will have a voting system with a paper trail by the November 2019 election. Travis County commissioners Tuesday unanimously approved the purchase of an about $8.2 million electronic voting system with paper backup from Election Systems & Software. About $1.5 million in costs for other election day equipment will need to be approved in coming weeks, bringing the total cost to about $9.7 million. The county will be among the first in the nation to commit to rigorous statistical auditing using that backup. Read More

Kansas: Software glitch is confusing voters in election for governor | The Wichita Eagle

When you go to the polls to vote for governor between now and Tuesday, don’t be surprised if you don’t see every candidate that you’re expecting to see on your ballot. They’re all there, but you may have to look a little deeper than usual to find the candidate you want to vote for. Because of an unforeseen software glitch in Sedgwick County’s new voting machines, not all the candidates’ names appear on the first screen when the voting machine gets to the gubernatorial election. To see all the names, you have to touch “more” at the bottom of the screen, which opens another page with the rest of the candidates. So on the first screen page that comes up when you’re voting in the governor race, you might see, for example, Gov. Jeff Colyer’s name, but not his chief rival, Kris Kobach. Or you might see Kobach’s name but not Colyer’s. Or you might see both, or neither. Read More