New Jersey: Hardware, software bugs derail push for early voting | Jeff Pillets/NJ Spotlight News

Officials across New Jersey agree that 2020’s mostly mail-in election — the biggest and most complex in state history — was also the most successful, as 4.5 million people voted safely in the midst of a public-health crisis. Lawmakers had hoped to build on that success by moving quickly with a plan that would bring early in-person voting to New Jersey as soon as this year’s gubernatorial primary, scheduled for June 8. Early voting already takes place in more than half the states, but for now the bill is stalled. To make early voting happen, New Jersey needs to update its voter registration system. That system is a complex web of computer servers and software linking all 21 counties with agencies in Trenton, including the division of elections, Motor Vehicle Commission and central offices for state courts, corrections and human services. It’s supposed to keep accurate track of registered voters and their addresses. But documents reviewed by New Jersey Spotlight News, as well as interviews with election officials across the state, show that persistent bugs in the state network continue to undermine the voting process and frustrate frontline election workers. Periodic reports generated by KNOWiNK, the St. Louis-based voting-tech startup that receives $1.6 million a year to maintain the state system, list dozens of recurring technical issues that stymied county election workers as they worked to send out mail-in ballots and upload votes.

Full Article: Hardware, software bugs derail NJ push for early voting | NJ Spotlight News

Texas: Comal County investigates scope of Election Day tech issues | Leah Durain/KENS 5

Comal County Elections Officials are reviewing voter logs to see how many people could have been impacted by a technical issue at the polls on Tuesday. The glitch impacted ballots cast on Election Day after poll pads were rebooted. Election workers heard from three voters who noticed local races were missing but others may not have known their ballots were incomplete. “It’s very possible that they didn’t realize that it wasn’t on there,” said Comal County Clerk, Bobbie Koepp. “We’re checking each one up against what could have voted versus what voted.” Koepp says the company that makes the poll pads, where the issue seems to have originated, should have notified her sooner and should take some responsibility. “It’s part of my duties to make sure that everybody gets what they’re supposed to get when they come to vote and I do take responsibility for that,” said Koepp. “But in my defense, I honestly feel that [KnowInk] needs to make it right. They need to make a statement and need to tell everybody what happened.”

Full Article: Comal County investigates scope of Election Day tech issues |

Georgia election official: Machine glitch caused by last-minute vendor upload | Kim Zetter/Politico

A technology glitch that halted voting in two Georgia counties on Tuesday morning was caused by a vendor uploading an update to their election machines the night before, a county election supervisor said. Voters were unable to cast machine ballots for a couple of hours in Morgan and Spalding counties after the electronic devices crashed, state officials said. In response to the delays, Superior Court Judge W. Fletcher Sams extended voting until 11 p.m. The counties use voting machines made by Dominion Voting Systems and electronic poll books — used to sign in voters — made by KnowInk. The companies “uploaded something last night, which is not normal, and it caused a glitch,” said Marcia Ridley, elections supervisor at Spalding County Board of Election. That glitch prevented pollworkers from using the pollbooks to program smart cards that the voters insert into the voting machines. Ridley said that a representative from the two companies called her after poll workers began having problems with the equipment Tuesday morning and said the problem was due to an upload to the machines by one of their technicians overnight.

Full Article: Georgia election official: Machine glitch caused by last-minute vendor upload – POLITICO

Voter Check-In Systems Slow Down Voting and Results Across U.S. | Kartikay Mehrotra and Margaret Newkirk/Bloomberg

The system voters use across the country to identify themselves at polling places may be yet another reason for delayed results on Election Day, after digital poll books failed at local voting jurisdictions in at least four states. Voters in parts of Georgia, Ohio and Texas all experienced various levels of system disruption with their ePollbooks provided by the vendor, KnowInk. In Nevada, voters in some Clark County precincts had to wait for their digital poll books to access their voter records before polls could open. DeKalb County in Georgia, population 760,000 and heavily Democratic, is allowing two polling places to stay open an additional 40 to 45 minutes because of “inability to operate the poll pads as designed, preventing voters from casting their ballots,” county Superior Court Judge Courtney L. Johnson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Franklin County, Ohio ditched their ePollbooks for paper records at 5:30 a.m. after election officials couldn’t determine why they were malfunctioning, said Ed Leonard, director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, adding that the move to paper could slow tabulation of results in the Columbus region.

Full Article: Election News: Digital Poll Books Cause Voting and Results Delays in Some States – Bloomberg

Ohio: Franklin County moves to paper pollbooks, leading to voting delays | Rick Rouan/The Columbus Dispatch

Franklin County has shifted to paper pollbooks for Election Day in a move that could make the voting process slower in Ohio’s largest county. The county has for years been using electronic pollbooks, which allow poll workers to quickly check in voters at their precinct polling location, but problems uploading the most recent data overnight prompted the Franklin County Board of Elections to make the change. An updated electronic file containing data about who voted early was too large — a product of an unprecedented level of early voting in Franklin County — and could not be synced with the electronic poll books, said Ed Leonard, director of the Franklin County Board of Elections. At the close of early voting, 350,982 people had cast early votes in Franklin County, either in person or via returned mail-in ballots. The county has about 833,000 registered voters. “We can’t guarantee all the data would be there for all the most recent absentee activity,” Leonard said.

Full Article: Franklin County moves to paper pollbooks, leading to voting delays

Georgia: Appeals court halts order requiring paper pollbook backups | Kate Brumback/Associated Press

A federal appeals court on Saturday temporarily halted a lower court’s order that said every polling place in Georgia must have at least one updated paper backup of the electronic pollbooks that are used to check in voters.U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg last month issued the order requiring the backup and other measures amid the context of a broader lawsuit filed by voting integrity activists that challenges Georgia’s voting system. She called the order “a limited common sense remedy” to impediments voters have faced.The state appealed the order to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel of the appeals court voted 2-1 to stay Totenberg’s order while the appeal is pending.The voting integrity activists had asked Totenberg to order the paper backup. They had argued that malfunctioning electronic pollbooks created bottlenecks that resulted in voters waiting in long lines during the state’s primary election in June and runoff election in August.The KnowInk PollPads are part of the new election system the state bought last year from Dominion Voting Systems for more than $100 million.Totenberg’s ruling required Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the state’s top elections official, to generate and provide election superintendents in each county a list of electors updated at the close of the in-person early voting period to contain all the information in the electronic pollbook. The secretary of state was then to instruct the election superintendents to provide at least one paper backup at each polling place on Election Day.

Georgia: Technical breakdown hangs over Georgia early voting | Brad Schrade and Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The first week of early voting once again tested Georgia’s voting system, and technical breakdowns and long waits returned. An overloaded statewide voter registration system, combined with high turnout, created long lines of frustrated voters, raising questions with two weeks of early voting remaining: Have the problems been solved, or was last week a precursor to larger challenges as Georgia races toward a Nov. 3 Election Day that is expected to be like no other?By late Friday, the office of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the state’s top election official, couldn’t assure voters that the problem was fully fixed. His office could offer no details about the nature of a bandwidth problem that reportedly caused the delays. They said they had worked with their vendor, Civix, to expand the system’s capacity.

Georgia: Hourly Voting Data Shows Where Georgia’s Process Failed – And Flourished | Stephen Fowler/Georgia Public Broadcasting

In the first hour of voting on June 9, 148 people used the state’s new poll pad check-in system to cast their ballot in Georgia’s primary election at the Newnan Centre polling place in Coweta County. Across the metro Atlanta area at Cross Keys High School in DeKalb County, that number was one. As national media outlets, voting rights groups and concerned voters continue to turn their eyes towards our state’s election administration, GPB News is publishing another set of data from the primary that paints a more complicated and nuanced picture of what went wrong – and right. Analyzing the hour-by-hour check-in data from the secretary of state’s office, some larger trends about voting emerge. Across the state, there were more people processed as the day progressed, peaking with 104,422 voters from 5-6 p.m., more than double the number of voters in the first hour of the day. Some of the largest polling places mirror that trend. At its slowest, the Newnan Centre saw 88 check-ins from 8-9 a.m. At its peak, 216 voters passed through in the 4 p.m. hour, more than a quarter of the state’s polling places saw the entire day of voting.

Georgia: Previously redacted Georgia election security document made public | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Georgia secretary of state’s office acknowledged Thursday that a vendor had improperly redacted a purchasing document detailing security features of the state’s new $107 million voting system. The unredacted 143-page document was posted on the secretary of state’s website Thursday. The document, which explains “high level security” of the state’s new voting check-in iPads, doesn’t compromise the integrity of the system, according to the secretary of state’s office. The document was made public “in the spirit of good governance and transparency” after the secretary of state’s office was alerted about the redactions, said Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs. “Our new voting system, including new Poll Pads, are our most secure system to date,” Fuchs said. The iPads will be provided by a company called KnowInk, which is working with Dominion Voting Systems to install the new voting technology statewide before the March 24 presidential primary.

New York: With Under a Month To Go, Board of Elections Mum on Shift to Electronic Poll Books | Ethan Geringer-Sameth/Gotham Gazette

With just one month before New York rolls out early voting for the first time, it is unclear exactly where the city’s Board of Elections stands on acquiring and readying new technology considered essential to the new voting system. BOE commissioners and staff have been discussing the acquisition of electronic poll books at board meetings since January, when the State Legislature passed and Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law establishing early voting and authorizing counties to purchase the new tech, which enables implementation of early voting. In June, the State Board of Elections approved three vendors that counties could contract with, and the same month the city BOE appeared to have chosen one. But as of late September, the city board has been silent on its progress toward purchasing the 10,000 e-poll books it says it requires, much less loading them with the voter rolls and training staff to use them.

Pennsylvania: Elections officials touted new electronic poll books. Now the city says they don’t work right. | Jonathan Lai/Philadelphia Inquirer

Philadelphia was supposed to use new, electronic poll books in its election this November, allowing poll workers to search for voters on an iPad and sign them in electronically, rather than use thick paper books. The change was supposed to reduce human error, and to make checking in voters faster and easier. City officials promised it would to help troubleshoot problems, such as providing correct information to voters who show up in the wrong polling place. It was supposed to, eventually, provide real-time turnout numbers from every polling site across the city. Turns out the system was not ready for prime time. Instead, “the city observed several problems with KNOWiNK’s pollbook system” during a test election conducted last month, the city’s Acting Chief Administrative Officer, Stephanie Tipton, said in a letter Tuesday to the acting board of elections.

Indiana: Johnson County to change election equipment before May Primary | FOX59

The Johnson County Election Board and Commissioners are cutting ties with software vendor that caused system crashes which resulted in thousands of voters waiting in lines for hours during the November 6 election. The Johnson County Commissioners voted Monday to adopt Election Board recommendations that the county terminate its contract with Omaha-based Election Systems and Software. “We just want to ensure that we have a good election,” said Johnson County Clerk Trena McGlaughlin.  “We don’t want to have any issues this year.  And we want to make everyone happy.” An investigation by Ball State’s VSTOP team, for the Indiana Secretary of State, determined ES&S systems were not properly set up for the high voter turnout the county saw on election day.  A system slow-down quickly brought voting to a standstill at multiple voting sites across the county.  Thousands of voters were left waiting in line for several hours as election officials and technical advisors struggled to get e-poll books back up to speed.

Alabama: 25 counties will test iPad-based voter list in November |

Voters at selected polling places in 25 Alabama counties will check in via an iPad-based system this November. The system is part of a pilot program backed by Alabama Secretary of state John Merrill, in which an electronic system replaces the paper printouts of voter rolls that poll workers use to check off qualified voters as they prepare to cast their ballots. It applies only to that part of the process, not the creation of the voter rolls or the actual voting. Voters still will cast their votes on the same machines they’ve been using. … John Bennett, deputy chief of staff for Merrill, said that each participating county will have enough of KNOWiNK’s Poll Pad setups to deploy them at a few polling places, meaning that even in those counties most voters may not see them. But for those who do use the affected polling places, things will work a little differently. Instead of going to a specific line based on the first letter of his or her last name, a voter will simply go to whichever line is shortest. If the voter presents a driver license, the system will be able to scan it; if they’re using a different form of approved ID, the poll worker will look up the voter by name.

Rhode Island: Voters to see new machines at polls Tuesday | Associated Press

Rhode Island voters will go to the polls Tuesday to select candidates for Congress and General Assembly and for mayor in North Providence and Woonsocket. Voters will notice a few minor changes at the polls this year, and turnout is expected to be light. … Voters will notice a small change in the way they vote: filling in an oval on their paper ballot rather than connecting an arrow. The change is due to new digital-scan voting machines being rolled out across the state in the primary. A portion of the polling locations will also start using new electronic poll books during the primary. The new wireless tablet-based system is designed to make it easier for poll workers to find voters’ names and eliminate the waits that can happen when workers have to pore through printed binders arranged alphabetically. Several more polling places will use electronic poll books during the Nov. 8 general election, and then the full rollout is scheduled to happen in 2018, Gorbea’s office said.

Alabama: This November, some Alabama voters will sign in on iPad-based system |

There might be no way to soften the polarizing nature of this year’s presidential candidates, but some Alabama election officials have high hopes that new technology will smooth the way for voters this November. The Alabama Secretary of State’s office is backing a trial program that will deploy an iPad-based system at some polling places throughout the state. The tablets won’t take the place of conventional voting machines, but they will be used to check voters in, replacing the conventional bulky printouts of voter lists – and, proponents say, taking some human error out of the equation. It’s a pilot program, so most voters won’t see it. According to the secretary of state’s office, indications are that more than half the state’s 67 counties will opt to take part, with each using it at a limited number of polling places. Early adopters include Barbour, Hale, Houston, Jackson, Jefferson, Madison, Morgan and Shelby counties.

Missouri: Stenger donor gets $2.1 million St. Louis County elections contract | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

On March 4, St. Louis County invited companies to bid on selling the Board of Elections 1,200 computerized tablets to check in voters at polling precincts. One well-connected vendor provided more than the 52-page bid documents had spelled out. On March 11, Scott Leiendecker donated $10,000 to the campaign treasury of County Executive Steve Stenger, according to documents filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission. Two months later, the County Board of Elections awarded Leiendecker’s company a contract worth up to $2.1 million to supply the county with the company’s “first of its kind, tablet-based electronic poll book.” It’s not the only time Stenger campaign donors have recently benefited from the county’s business. As the Post-Dispatch previously reported, Stenger just last month announced that the county planned to move the Elections Board from its longtime headquarters in Maplewood to renovated offices at the former Northwest Plaza shopping center in St. Ann. The development is owned by David and Bob Glarner, who donated $75,000 to Stenger last year through a holding company. The 20-year lease is worth up to $50 million in rent from the Elections Board and two other county agencies relocating there.

Kansas: Johnson County election process adds tech upgrades with iPads | The Kansas City Star

Voters in Johnson County, get your index fingers ready. You’ll be signing your name on an iPad when you show up at the polls for the primary and general elections this year. The voting process will go further into the digital age this year with new hardware and software to replace the big poll books the election commission has used for decades. Poll books hold a list of voters for each precinct. One of the first tasks of voting involves telling a poll worker your name to be sure you’re in the right place, then signing under the ruler in the poll book to record that you’ve voted. That will change this year because the county elections commission is updating its equipment, moving more of it into an electronic system. The Johnson County Commission on Thursday approved a measure to budget $936,000 to replace of administrative software and buy iPad Air 2 tablets so they can be in place by July for advance voting in the August primary. The county already had about $836,000 in an account reserved for new equipment. The action adds $100,000 to that.

Ohio: Pettis clerk to assist with Ohio election | Sedalia Democrat

After implementing new technology during the August special election in Pettis County, Clerk Nick La Strada has been asked to help implement the tech in another state. The new poll pads launched in Pettis County in August, the first county in Missouri to do so. La Strada said an election authority from St. Louis watched the Pettis election to see how the tech works before implementing it in their county. La Strada was then asked a few weeks ago by vendor KnowInk to help with the November election in Allen County, Ohio, since he is an election authority already familiar with the process. The county has a population of about 105,000, more than double the population of Pettis County. “I’m excited to go out and do that,” La Strada said. “It’s an honor to even go see a process in such a high profile state for electoral college for the upcoming election.”

Texas: No Poll Pads for election day | The Kingsville Record

Technology purchased to help speed up the voting process in Kleberg County will not be available on Election Day, officials said this week. Kleberg County had previously purchased 34 iPads to be used with an application called Poll Pad that did away with the paper sign in process at polling stations. The system was first…