With millions of customers in multiple states out of electricity following Superstorm Sandy, VotesPA is asking how electronic voting machines will operate in the event some polling places in Pennsylvania and other states do not have power restored in time for next Tuesday’s Presidential Election. VotePA today announced a warning that, should this become a problem next week, the answer is not to rely on batteries to run voting machines for all or even a substantial part of Election Day. … VotePA Executive Director Marybeth Kuznik says that “officials in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, other states affected by Sandy have been quoted in the press as saying that batteries could potentially run their equipment through the day”
“Depending on aging batteries to allow voting for any extended length of time would be incredibly foolish during an important national and statewide election.” Kuznik, who is a 20-year District Election Board member and has observed nearly two dozen voting system examinations by the Pennsylvania Department of State, explained that vendors supply voting machines with ‘backup’ batteries to protect the memory and allow short periods of casting ballots in event of a power outage during a voting day.
According to Kuznik, these batteries “are not generally designed to run the machine for hours and hours, and certainly not for an entire election.”
Kuznik went on to explain that voting machine batteries lose the ability to hold a full charge as they age, just like batteries in cell phones and laptop computers. “Even so-called ‘new’ batteries that have been sitting on a shelf for several years may not hold as much charge as they did when they were first manufactured,” said Kuznik.