Citing too many unanswered questions, the Union County Quorum Court voted 8-2 Thursday to table a discussion about the possibility of receiving new voting machines from the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office. The issue began earlier this year, when the state began to offer assistance to counties to purchase new voting machines. But in Union County, that offer has been rescinded more than once, leaving local officials unsure of how to proceed. Officials also voiced concerns with replacing equipment before the November election. Last month, Union County Judge Mike Loftin received a letter from Kelly Boyd, chief deputy Secretary of State, offering the county new voting machines for elections, for which the state would pay 50 percent of the costs. The letter stated that the total cost for the new machines for Union County would be around $440,000, using Election System & Software (ES&S).
Pennsylvania: Philadelphia won’t have new voting machines in place for 2020 election, commissioner says | WHYY
Pennsylvania has told its counties to install new voting machines, if those now in service don’t have a “paper trail” that can be used for a recount. Acting Secretary of State Robert Torres set a Dec. 31, 2019, deadline for replacing the machines, in order to have new systems in place statewide for the 2020 presidential election. But Philadelphians won’t be casting their next vote for president on updated equipment. Philadelphia City Commissioner Lisa Deeley said the city will find machines by the deadline, but they will not be put in service. “I think that we are on track in the city of Philadelphia to have new equipment selected by the close of 2019,” she said.
As the investigation of Russia’s role in the 2016 Presidential election continues, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) finally announced which states experienced hacking attempts within the last year. Among those targeted was Delaware. With only three Electoral College votes and a consistent Democratic voting record in the last seven presidential elections, it is bizarre to see Delaware in the company of swing states like Wisconsin, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. However, unlike Virginia, which is updating its voting system to ensure election security, Delaware is updating its voting system for a very different reason: efficiency.
Pennsylvania: Is your vote safe? Penn State panel casts doubts, but county elections chief says not to worry | Press & Journal
A Nov. 1 forum on election security at Penn State Harrisburg raised concerns about the vulnerability of voting systems nationally and in Pennsylvania to cyber attack. … Marian Schneider, a former special adviser to Gov. Tom Wolf on election policy and one of three speakers at the Penn State Harrisburg event, said it is “irrelevant” whether Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election actually altered the outcome in any way. She quoted former FBI Director John Comey saying that the Russians “will be back, and they will be bolder.” “If you conclude that they had some success with the election last year, they may embolden other actors, whether nation-state attackers or within the United States,” said Schneider, who was deputy secretary for elections and administration in the Pennsylvania Department of State from 2015 to 2017. “I think this is the new normal in elections and the Russian effort shows us what could possibly happen.
Delaware will put out a request for bids on new voting machines by the end of month. Delaware’s current voting machines have been in use since 1996. The state has about 1,600 voting machines. Considered state of art when they were purchased more than twenty years ago, they’re now outdated. A 2015 report by the Brennan Center for Justice notes that the machine models Delaware uses are no longer being made and have outlived their expected lifespan. … [State Elections Commissioner Elaine ] Manlove adds Delaware will probably have to wait until 2020 for the new voting machines because the purchasing process will take some time.
Delaware: Department of Elections pursues voting machine modernization | Delaware State News | Delaware State News
On Thursday morning, the Kent County Department of Elections completed its inspection of all 32 voting machines that will be used in the upcoming Kent County Levy Court special election. … In addition to routine inspection, the department recently has been pursuing modernization of voting equipment. Last year, state election commissioner Elaine Manlove requested a task force to review existing equipment (House Bill 342). On Tuesday the resulting task force met for the first time to discuss a strategy.
People often complain about long lines when they go to cast their vote on Election Day, particularly in presidential election years, but imagine how much worse it would be if large numbers of the state’s aging voting machines broke down and parts to fix them were hard to come by. It’s that type of scenario that Sen. Elder Vogel, R-Beaver County, hopes to avoid. He authored a resolution calling for a study on aging voting machines in the state that the Senate adopted last month. It directs the Joint State Government Commission to complete the study within the next 18 months and issue its findings and recommendations. County election officials are already “scavenging parts” when problems arise, he said. He wants to be proactive “before it becomes a crisis.” Barry Kauffman, a senior adviser to Common Cause Pennsylvania, agrees this is an issue that needs to be dealt with – and soon. “We know these machines are aging out … some of the software isn’t even serviced anymore,” Kauffman said. “There is a serious need to protect the integrity of our elections.” Along with that, he would like to see more voting machines that are user-friendly and ensure votes are counted correctly. “In the end, we need timely, accurate results,” he said.
The Pulaski County Election Commission is questioning whether Secretary of State Mark Martin should delay his plans to replace the state’s voting machines by the March 1 primary election and instead wait until 2017 to overhaul the voting machines in the state’s 75 counties. Martin’s office has received three bids from voting machine equipment companies in response to his request for proposals … The secretary of state’s office is considering replacing voting equipment statewide “with a sole-source integrated voting system allowing for automation and full integration between polling place equipment and voter registration system(s),” according to a copy of the request-for-proposal released by Martin’s office. These pieces of equipment would allow voters to mark their ballots on electronic screens or to cast paper ballots. If the project succeeds, the vendor would be responsible for all replacement, installation, training, testing and maintenance no later than March 1, the request-for-proposal states. The maximum expenditure for the project would be $30 million, the secretary of state said.
Delaware: Pew report praises Delaware voter registration, questions voting machines | Delaware Public Media
The Pew Charitable Trust’s examination of 17 areas such as polling station wait times placed Delaware in the top twenty-five percent of states overall when it comes to “election performance” – so says Pew’s manager of election initiatives Zachary Markovitz. “Delaware really is a pioneer leading the states, especially in improving their voter registration system,” said Markovitz. That improvement comes in the form of the “e-signature” program, which the First State implemented in 2009. The initiative lets Delaware residents complete the entire voter registration process at the DMV, instead of having to fill out paperwork, send it in by mail, wait for a response…. and very possibly, and understandably, have something get messed up along the way. The e-signature program was even praised by a task force commissioned by President Obama after the 2012 elections to find ways to improve election performance around the country. Still, Pew’s report found room for improvement in Delaware. Markovitz points to Delaware’s “residual vote rate” — basically, the number of votes cast in an election versus those actually counted. And when those numbers don’t match up, it could imply that some people’s votes are slipping through the cracks. …