Pennsylvania: State to hear electronic voting challenge | Associated Press

Pennsylvania officials crossed their fingers and hoped for no major problems in the 2006 election as voters in all 67 counties cast ballots electronically for the first time. Despite scattered glitches, that’s what they got — thanks largely to $150 million from the federal government that helped more than half the counties obtain new computerized machines that replaced lever and punch-card systems. But voter-rights advocates concerned about the security and verification of ballots cast in the 50 counties that use direct recording electronic, or DRE, machines are preparing to argue before the state’s high court Wednesday that the devices violate state law and the state constitution. Lawyers sued Pennsylvania’s secretary of state in Commonwealth Court in August 2006 on behalf of two dozen voters. A succession of rulings by that court has gone against the plaintiffs, but the state Supreme Court could overturn those — a possibility that could have wide-reaching implications for Pennsylvania’s 8.2 million voters. At the heart of the plaintiffs’ case is the fact that the 23,500 computerized DRE machines do not create a paper record of each vote as it is cast. Instead, they create electronic records that can be printed out after the election. The other 17 counties use optical scanners to read votes marked on paper ballots, or a combination of the two systems.