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The 'new machines are garbage.' Northampton County fielded dozens of election complaints, newly released records show

DECEMBER 28, 2019 | RILEY YATES AND TOM SHORTELL, THE MORNING CALL

Almost as soon as the polls opened in November, Northampton County was receiving complaints about its new voting machines, with residents and poll workers detailing technological problems that have drawn withering criticism as the county braces for a presidential election next year, newly released documents show.

More than two dozen written complaints were sent to Northampton County’s top officials, with voters’ reporting machines that registered votes for the wrong candidates, refused to accept their selections, and caused long lines and confusion at their precincts.

“The touch screens on these new machines are garbage,” Paul Saunders, a judge of elections in Hanover Township, emailed the county less than an hour after voting began, citing difficulties voters were having.

“This is totally unacceptable now and will be impossible to cope with in 2020,” Saunders said.

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How PA's election security lawsuit led to the challenge of the state's top-selling touchscreen voting machine

December 10, 2019 | Emily Previti, PA Post

Three Pennsylvania counties could end up scrambling to replace brand new voting machines before the 2020 election – a situation stemming largely from the loose terms of the 2018 legal settlement that mandates new voting machines across the state.

Plaintiffs led by former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein say one system in particular never should have been certified in the first place and are asking a federal judge to force the state to decertify it.

The ExpressVote XL doesn’t meet the agreement’s requirements for paper-based systems that produce auditable results and let voters verify ballots before they are cast, they claim.

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Stein recount campaign files motion to enforce PA settlement agreement, decertify unverifiable voting machines

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday November 26, 2019

Jill Stein for President Recount Team

Contact: Dave Schwab schwab@jill2016.com

PHILADELPHIA - Jill Stein and the 2016 recount team filed a motion today in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to enforce the settlement agreement in Stein v. Cortés by ordering the PA Department of State to immediately decertify the ES&S ExpressVote XL voting machine. 

Leading election integrity experts including Dr. J. Alex Halderman agree that the deeply flawed ExpressVote XL violates the 2018 settlement of the Stein recount lawsuit guaranteeing all Pennsylvania voters the right to voter-verifiable, auditable paper ballots by the 2020 election. Recent developments such as the ExpressVote XL’s disastrous debut in 2019 local elections underscore the urgency of decertifying and replacing these untrustworthy machines as soon as possible.

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RELEASE: Stein: If PA Continues Violating Settlement Agreement on Election Integrity, Risk-Limiting Audits are "Just a Publicity Stunt".

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday November 20, 2019

Stein: If PA continues violating settlement agreement on election integrity, Risk-Limiting Audits are “just a publicity stunt”.

Jill Stein for President Recount Team

Contact: Dave Schwab 518.610.2708 schwab@jill2016.com

Jill Stein and the 2016 recount team said today that if the state of Pennsylvania continues to violate basic election integrity principles required by the Stein v. Cortés settlement agreement, then the risk-limiting audit scheduled for November 21 in Philadelphia County will be an empty publicity stunt. The Stein recount team pointed to a report by Protect Our Vote Philly, backed by abundant evidence, showing that “Thursday’s risk-limiting audit will not be able to confirm that the election results correctly reflect the intent of the voters”. 

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The Market for Voting Machines is Broken. This Company Has Thrived In It

October 28, 2019 | Jessica Huseman | Propublica

Half the country votes on machines made by ES&S. Many experts and election officials say the manufacturer remains dominant because there’s little government regulation and almost no oversight.

In the glare of the hotly contested 2018 elections, things did not go ideally for ES&S, the nation’s largest manufacturer of voting technology.

In Georgia, where the race for governor had drawn national interest amid concerns about election integrity, ES&S-owned technology was in use when more than 150,000 voters inexplicably did not cast a vote for lieutenant governor. In part because the aged ES&S-managed machines did not produce paper backups, it wasn’t clear whether mechanical or human errors were to blame. Litigation surrounding the vote endures to this day.

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Stein recount campaign demands PA protect right to paper ballots, decertify unverifiable voting machines

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2019
Jill Stein for President Recount Team
Contact: Dave Schwab 518.610.2708 schwab@jill2016.com

PHILADELPHIA - Jill Stein and the 2016 recount team announced today that they have served notice to the state of Pennsylvania that the ES&S ExpressVote XL voting machine, recently recertified by the state, violates the terms of the settlement agreement in Stein v. Cortés. This 2018 settlement of the Stein recount lawsuit guarantees all Pennsylvania voters the right to voter-verifiable, auditable paper ballots by the 2020 election. Against public outcry and expert warnings, Philadelphia County has decided to purchase ExpressVote XL machines for use by all voters. The state has 30 days to respond, after which the plaintiffs can ask the federal court that brokered the agreement to enforce it.

“The ES&S ExpressVote XL violates our agreement in several ways and should never have been certified,” said Stein. “Instead of paper ballots, they use ‘summary cards’ that are difficult for voters to verify, research shows. Even if voters do verify the written text, what counts as your vote is not the text but printed barcodes, making it impossible to verify your actual vote. The state of Colorado recently banned barcodes for counting votes for the common-sense reason that humans can’t read barcodes. Even more troubling, these machines can be programmed to change your ballot after you submit it, meaning there’s no reliable paper record and no way to verify the election results through auditing.”

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Critical US Election Systems Have Been Left Exposed Online Despite Official Denials

August 8, 2019 | Kim Zetter | Vice

The top voting machine company in the country insists that its election systems are never connected to the internet. But researchers found 35 of the systems have been connected to the internet for months and possibly years, including in some swing states.

For years, U.S. election officials and voting machine vendors have insisted that critical election systems are never connected to the internet and therefore can’t be hacked.

But a group of election security experts have found what they believe to be nearly three dozen backend election systems in 10 states connected to the internet over the last year, including some in critical swing states. These include systems in nine Wisconsin counties, in four Michigan counties, and in seven Florida counties—all states that are perennial battlegrounds in presidential elections.

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Why Many 2020 Swing States Will Produce Recount Headaches

APRIL 6, 2019 | COMMON DREAMS | STEVEN ROSENFELD

If the 2020 presidential election hinges on recounts in the closest battleground states, there could be a crisis even greater than the 2000 election where the U.S. Supreme Court ended a Florida recount in its infamous Bush v. Gore ruling.

The laws and timetables governing recounts in many swing states differ widely and aren’t necessarily geared toward transparent granular counting.

That’s because the laws and timetables governing recounts in many swing states differ widely and aren’t necessarily geared toward transparent granular counting—and that’s apart from President Trump’s habit of attacking election outcomes he doesn’t like by claiming they were stolen.

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11,000 Votes May Be Missing in Florida Congressional Race

November 13, 2018 | Truthout

Counties across Florida are currently under intense pressure and scrutiny as they race to complete the unprecedented task of three simultaneous statewide recounts. According to a schedule provided to Truthout by the Florida Fair Elections Coalition (FFEC), the deadline for finishing machine recounts and submitting those second unofficial results is Thursday, November 15, at 3 pm. Races that are close enough to require what is being described as a “manual” recount — where a limited number of ballots are counted by hand — must submit official returns Friday, November 16, by noon. Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher has already stated that her county will be unable to meet the deadline, calling it “impossible.” The statewide races where recounts are required are for governor, agricultural commissioner and Senate, where current Gov. Rick Scott maintains a razor-thin lead of 12,562 votes in his attempt to take a Senate seat away from his rival Democrat incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson. That lead is now less than the mysterious 25,000 undervote that was reported previously in the race.

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Voting Problems Surface as Americans Go to the Polls

November 6, 2018 | New York Times

From closed polling sites to malfunctioning machines, Election Day brought frustration for some voters in contests shadowed by questions about the security and fairness of the electoral system.

In Gwinnett County, Ga., four precincts — out of 156 — suffered prolonged technical delays, while some voting machines in South Carolina lacked power or the devices needed to activate them. There was also some confusion in Allegheny County, Pa., which includes Pittsburgh, where at least four polling places were changed in the last two days.

Voters who went to a polling place in Chandler, Ariz., a Phoenix suburb, found the doors locked and a legal notice announcing that the building had been closed overnight for failure to pay rent. (Officials later reopened the location.) In Houston, a worker was removed from a polling site and faced an assault charge amid a racially charged dispute with a voter, The Houston Chronicle reported.

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