What Don't We Need in Pennsylvania Elections?

PAPrimary_042208_DieboldTouchscreenSmashed_Allentown.jpgPennsylvania is one of the most at-risk states for election problems, so there are quite a few things we DO NOT need more of in our elections!

  1. We don't need to keep using outdated and worn-out voting equipment that is past its prime. The youngest of Pennsylvania's voting machines are now in their eleventh year of use, and some counties' voting systems are even older. These are computers that are nearing the end of their useful lives. It's time to replace them.
  2. We don't need to buy somebody else's junk. Most or all of the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touchscreen and pushbutton voting systems currently used in Pennsylvania are no longer being manufactured. Some vendors are still selling these models to PA counties that are expanding their supply of voting machines, but these are "refurbs," not new machines. No matter how well these old DREs are refurbished, they are still used units and outdated technology. It is time to stop using PA taxpayer dollars to buy someone else's old junk!
  3. We don't need another rush to buy poorly designed voting systems. Under the federal Help America Vote Act, every county in Pennsylvania was required to have a "new" voting system in place by the May, 2006 primary election. The state was slow in certifying machines and many counties waited until the last minute to decide what system they wanted. A lot of counties ended up making rush decisions and rush deals with vendors that resulted in voters ending up with uncertain, unverifable elections for years to come. See this video -- one of the Pennsylvania State University computer scientists who tested voting machines for the Secretary of State of Ohio discussing security problems he found in them. We know these voting machines were poorly designed and now they are getting old; let's not wait until they break down completely to replace them! If we plan in advance, we won't have to rush when we buy new ones and hopefully better decisions will be made this time.
  4. MerleVotingOniVo.jpgWe don't need "accessible" voting systems that voters with disabilities can't use or that risks their vote when other votes are protected. It is a cruel hoax to allow voters with disabilities to vote on these systems, thinking they will be voting privately and independently as the Help America Vote Act promised. Many of the so-called "accessible" voting systems sold to counties under HAVA are anything but that. We have audio ballots for blind voters that are so loud and slow it takes an hour to vote, and voters risk hearing damage by using them. We have some machines locked onto stands that are so narrow, voters who use wheelchairs can't get close enough to reach the screen and the buttons, forcing them to get assistance. Some counties make disabled voters use paperless DREs (instead of providing accessible ballot markers) while other voters get the protection of a voter-marked paper ballot. None of this is the free and equal voting required for all Pennsylvania citizens by our State Constitution.
  5. We don't need any more election audits and recounts that are meaningless. Direct Recording Electronic voting systems cannot possibly audit or recount votes without using the same proprietary software that counted the votes the first time on election night. Any audit or recount of any election on these machines is simply just a rePRINT of results from the same software, telling us nothing about potential miscounts, malfunctions, or fraud. This is not really in compliance with current election law, and it never was, yet since 2006 the state has been giving these DREs a free pass. Hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, or more, has been wasted on so-called audits and in some cases statewide "recounts" of DRE elections that actually mean nothing.
  6. hacker.jpgMost importantly -- we don't need for an election to get hacked and WE DON'T NEED INTERNET OR SMARTPHONE VOTING in Pennsylvania! Some people mistakenly believe that because they can bank or shop online, they could just as well vote using their home computer or smartphone. Nothing could be further from the truth! Computer scientists tell us that today's internet is too insecure for casting votes, and it is unlikely to be safe enough for secret ballot voting for decades, if ever. Right now, billions of dollars are lost annually to online fraud; banks and online stores insure these losses as part of their cost of doing business. But how do we insure, how do we recover, how do we replace your anonymous vote if it gets hacked or stolen online? The answer is, we can't. If your vote gets lost, it's gone forever. If a whole election gets hacked, and one easily could be given the money and power that is at stake in today's elections, our democracy could be is severe peril. Let's not get hacked. NO INTERNET OR SMARTPHONE VOTING for Pennsylvania. Period.

So what do we need to improve the way we vote in Pennsylvania? As far as voting systems are concerned there are two simple things... go to this page and learn them, then join VotePA and help us fight for fair and accurate elections for everyone in the Keystone State!