NEW PAPER-BASED VOTING SYSTEMS COMING TO PENNSYLVANIA FOR 2020
In 2018, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf ordered that all voting machines in Pennsylvania must be replaced with voting systems that use paper by 2020. Here is where we stand as of December 31, 2019.
Blue - Forty counties have chosen to provide a Hand-Marked Paper Ballot to most voters, with an assistive device in each precinct for voters who need it. This is the gold standard of voting systems available today!
But all voting systems that use paper are not truly verifiable
Purple, Red, Dark Orange, & Brown
Sadly, vendors pushed some county officials to buy expensive touchscreen "ballot markers" for every voter. These devices count votes using barcodes or QR codes, not by the actual marks made by the voter on a real paper ballot. And that's BAD. Computer scientists warn us that there is no way for the voter to tell that these barcodes actually say what he or she intended, so the paper coming out of these touchscreens is not truly verifiable.
As of now, officials in twenty-one counties are foolishly wasting taxpayer money on providing unnecessary touchscreen ballot markers for every voter. In one county (Purple) they offer all voters a choice of a hand-marked paper ballot or a marking device, but all those extra touchscreens wastes taxpayer money. And in reality, every voter has the right to choose to vote on the assistive device in any county.
In thirteen counties (Bright Red) officials are simply wasting two or three times more money than they need to by providing an expensive and less-secure ballot marking device to many voters who don't need one. In four counties (Dark Orange) these devices have an on-board tabulator, making them VERY risky. And in three more counties (Brown) officials went for the most expensive voting machine ever made -- the controversial ExpressVote XL that lost over 26,000 votes in Northampton County in November and right now is the subject of two lawsuits.
As you can see, several counties (no color) have not chosen, or their decision has not yet been made public.
Expensive touchscreens are not needed for every voter. A plain fifty-cent pen works just fine for most people to fill in the ovals on a paper ballot. All that is required to comply with the Governor's directive and federal law is the paper ballot along with one accessible assistive device in each precinct for voters who need help to mark it.
We don't want barcodes. We want real paper ballots, MARKED BY HAND for most voters, because every voter should be able to verify his or her choices and we need to be able to meaningfully audit our votes. Let's save taxpayer money and do this right!
VotePA looks forward to working for good choices in these counties, and for wiser choices in the Brown, Orange, and Red counties in 2020 and beyond. With citizens' help, we can change this, save our tax dollars, and get safer elections. Don't let YOUR county waste tax dollars on unnecessary junk. Join VotePA and learn how you can help.
NEWS FROM AROUND PA
Tying Hands and Rewarding Waste: SB421 Does Not Protect Our Elections
VotePA Opposes SB 421 as Passed
October 30, 2019 -- Tuesday afternoon the PA General Assembly passed SB 421: the largest election bill in decades. Upon the Governor’s signature, this bill will bring huge changes to the way Pennsylvanians vote. But on Tuesday the PA House and Senate took only a few hours to consider this 125-page measure in its full, completed form before ramming it through roll call votes to final passage.
Although a handful of things in this hasty bill might improve our elections, the cost and risk it brings to Pennsylvania’s voting systems – the machinery and method by which our voters actually cast their ballots -- far outweigh any benefit.
SB 421 Ties the Hands of the Secretary of the Commonwealth in the Face of Danger
SB 421 Rewards Counties That Make Bad Choices of Voting Equipment [MORE]
PAPER BALLOTS FOR ALLEGHENY COUNTY!
September 26, 2019 -- VotePA commends the Allegheny County Election Board’s announced decision to purchase a new voting system that will provide a verified, hand-marked paper ballot to the majority of voters.
“We have long believed that a system based on hand-marked paper ballots is the “gold standard” meaning the most secure, most cost-effective, and overall best voting system available today and for the foreseeable future,” said VotePA President Marybeth Kuznik. “We are thrilled that Allegheny -- the second largest county in our state -- has chosen a gold-standard system.”
Since 2005, VotePA’s community of advocates and computer experts have advised all counties, including Allegheny, to select voting systems that provide a verified, hand-marked paper ballot to the majority of voters with an accessible assistive device in each precinct for voters who need it. [MORE]
VotePA Statement on Re-Examination of the ExpressVoteXL Voting Machine
July 18, 2019 -- This week approximately 200 registered voters from all over Pennsylvania submitted a petition to Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar, asking for a re-examination of the ES&S ExpressVoteXL voting machine under Pennsylvania Law.VotePA and its members were happy to participate in this effort.
At $9,100 each, the ExpressVoteXL is the most expensive voting machine ever made. Weighing nearly 300 pounds it is large and heavy, yet fragile and cumbersome to move and store. But the ExpressVote XL’s excessive size and outrageous cost pales next to its security and design problems. There are many reasons for the Secretary of the Commonwealth to take another look at this machine and potentially decertify it against use in Pennsylvania. [MORE on News Page]