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Pennsylvania: Voting Machine Suit Seeks Answers PDF  | Print |  Email
By Paul Muschick Of The Morning Call   
November 16, 2006

25 citizens claim electronic units in state are unreliable. Judges ask about challenges to their use.


Several Commonwealth Court judges on Wednesday questioned whether the state has a fair process for citizens to challenge the use of controversial touch-screen electronic voting machines.

The questions arose during a 40-minute hearing at Temple University on a lawsuit filed by 25 citizens who say the machines are unreliable.

They want the systems decertified in 57 counties, including Lehigh, Northampton and surrounding counties, alleging the state's certification process of the equipment was insufficient. They want the systems modified to produce paper printouts so voters can verify that the equipment accurately records their choices.

The Pennsylvania Department of State argued Wednesday that the lawsuit should be dismissed before trial. It said the lawsuit is based on rehashed allegations that have failed in other courts and on speculation that errors could occur or machines could be hijacked by computer hackers.


Read the entire article at The Morning Call 

Pennsylvania: GOP Asks For Investigation Into Voting Machine Problems PDF  | Print |  Email
By Pennsylvania Republican State Committee   
November 10, 2006
Republican State Committee Executive Director Scott Migli today released the attached letter from counsel Lawrence Tabas to Secretary of Commonwealth Pedro Cortes.


The letter alerts Secretary Cortes of the numerous issues voters have encountered while trying to cast their ballot.  There has been reported instances in at least 12 different counties of voters who tried to cast their ballot for a Republican candidate only to have the machine register a vote for a Democratic candidate.


View PARSC Letter 

Santorum Calls For Machines To Be Impounded PDF  | Print |  Email
November 07, 2006

View Letter from Pennsylvania Republican State Committee


In one of the most closely-watched US Senate races in the nation, some controversy started brewing before the polls even closed tonight. The race between the two-term Republican Senator Rick Santorum and Democratic Challenger Bob Casey has been a heated battle throughout the campaign from the political mudslinging to their contentious debate.

Now KDKA has learned that the Republican State Committee has sent a letter to the Secretary of State asking that voting machines in 27 counties that have been accused of being malfunctioning be impounded tonight

The issue has to do with reports that some of the electronic voting machines were not working properly.

Pennsylvania GOP officials claimed there were reports that some machines were changing Republican votes to Democratic votes. They asked the state to investigate and said they were not ruling out a legal challenge.

According to Santorum's camp, people are voting for Santorum, but the vote either registered as invalid or a vote for Casey.

Asked if the party would consider legal action, state Republican executive director Scott Migli said, "We've got all options on the table at this point. We feel like the electoral system has been left up to computer technicians."


Read the Entire Article on 

Pennsylvania: Several Reports Say New Voting Machines Not Working in Allegheny County PDF  | Print |  Email
November 07, 2006

Several Reports Say New Voting Machines Not Working

Voting Equipment: ES&S iVotronic

Some western Pennsylvanians who tried to vote at their local polling place on Tuesday morning have reported problems with the new touch-screen voting machines. Channel 4 Action News has received several reports of non-working machines. Paper ballots were brought to some of the locations, but not all, according to some voters. This is the county's first general election in which the new iVotronic machines are being used.

It's unclear whether voters will be able to use an alternative voting method at the polling places or if they will have to go somewhere else.

The Allegheny County Elections Division may be reached at 412-350-4500.

Pennsylvania: Lancaster County - Electronic voting machine problems reported early PDF  | Print |  Email
November 07, 2006

Lancaster County - Electronic voting machine problems reported early

Machine: Hart Intercivic eSlate


Voters at several polls around Lancaster County have reported issues using electronic touch-screen voting machines.


Reports from Lancaster’s 9th Ward, fourth precinct; 2nd Ward, first and second precincts; 6th Ward, first precinct; 8th Ward, eighth and ninth precinct; and Manheim Township’s 7th district had reports of malfunctioning machines and/or voter confusion about how to use the electronic machines.

These touch-screen machines are not new to all voters. The machines made their debut in the May primary election.

More reports from the polls throughout the day as events warrant.

Pennsylvania Voters On E-Voting: Trust, But Verify PDF  | Print |  Email
By Lehigh University   
October 04, 2006

In the first joint Lehigh-Muhlenberg poll, voters surveyed said they want a paper trail when they cast ballots electronically


Download Full Report of Survey Findings


A survey conducted by Lehigh University and the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion in late September found that, when it comes to e-voting, Pennsylvania voters are following former President Ronald Reagan’s famous adage: Trust, but verify.

The survey found that voters overwhelmingly agree on the importance of voters having the right to verify on paper that their vote is being counted fairly and accurately. The findings cut across all demographic divides, including party affiliation.

Is Diebold Really OK In Pennsylvania (And The Rest Of the Country)? PDF  | Print |  Email
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
October 03, 2006

Click Here To View The Video


I appeared on CNBC’s “On the Money” yesterday with Michael Shamos, Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist and voting systems consultant to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The segment took as its point of departure the recent Princeton University study, which demonstrated once again that with minimal access, election results could be altered undetectably on a Diebold voting machine.

When asked by the host, Dylan Ratigan, if there was any cause for concern with the security of electronic voting machines, Mr. Shamos (pictured at left) quickly admitted that “There are very severe security drawbacks to current electronic voting machines.” He went on to recommend a reactive strategy of fixing flaws in the machines as they’re discovered.

Ratigan countered, “How do we know when its fixed? Anyone who’s worked with a computer knows how bugs perpetuate themselves seemingly indefinitely.” Mr. Shamos agreed, admitting that it was pointless to attempt to get voting machines into a “perfect” state. He went on to say that “there’s never been a verified instance of tampering with a voting machine.” Of course, one of the revelations of the Princeton Report and many studies that preceded it was that vote totals can be altered undetectably. Exactly how could anyone verify something that is undetectable?

Comment on the Pennsylvania State HAVA Plan PDF  | Print |  Email
By Rebecca Mercuri, Notable Software   
August 27, 2006

This article was posted on It is reposted here with permission of the author.


Numerous citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requested that I submit a comment regarding Pennsylvania's amended HAVA State Plan. I am an expert on electronic voting matters, a former (long-time) resident of Pennsylvania, as well as a former Bucks County poll worker and committeewoman. I have testified before numerous PA legislative committees on the subject of Voter Verified Paper Ballots, and continue to closely follow your State's HAVA implementation activities.

I am deeply concerned about Pennsylvania's interpretation of the HAVA Section 301 requirements with regard to the production of "a permanent paper record with a manual audit capacity" by voting systems that "allow the voter to correct any error before the permanent paper record is produced." I have examined all of the voting system certification reports on your Secretary of State's website and note that only your optically scanned paper systems appear to meet this dual mandate. That there is considerable debate about the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) systems is reflected in your State Plan Element 12 section entitled "Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail." Although you have observed that the EAC has not mandated VVPATs in their 2005 VVSG, actually none of their guidelines are mandatory (they are all voluntary). As well, the EAC has abstained from commenting with respect to the ability to apply "uniform and nondiscriminatory standards" in states where diverse voting systems are employed that exhibit different rates of disenfranchisement (such as via high undervote rates). These are points of concern.

With regard to the semantic discussion that appears on pages 53-55 of your State Plan, the terminology has been incorrectly applied. The balloting process (whether on optically scanned paper or via a VVPAT-equipped DRE) always requires a casting action that confirms that the voter has had an opportunity to examine the paper record and has deemed it to be correct. Thus, all ballots are "verified" (in the same way that a signature on a loan contract indicates that the signer has reviewed the document, whether they actually did or not) through the casting action following the verification opportunity. Most federal and state legislative efforts in this regard have consistently used the word "verified" and not "verifiable" for this reason. I therefore recommend that the phrase "voter verified" (including in the phrase "Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail") be used in all instances in the PA HAVA Plan, rather than "voter verifiable." For additional purposes of understanding, an optically scanned ballot is a voter verified ballot, and a DRE with a VVPAT printing device also produces voter verified ballots if the printed documents are used to create the vote totals.

Pennsylvania Voters File Suit To Halt Use Of Touch-Screen Electronic Voting Systems In November PDF  | Print |  Email
By VoterAction   
August 15, 2006

Cite Machines’ Vulnerability To Hacking, Inability to Verify Votes


A nonpartisan and diverse group of Pennsylvania voters filed a lawsuit today in Commonwealth Court to halt the use of electronic voting machines that do not create a permanent physical record of each vote. The lawsuit, the most comprehensive yet filed against electronic voting in Pennsylvania, alleges that the Secretary of State’s certification of such electronic voting machines violates the state’s Election Code and the state’s Constitution.

“The very integrity of the election process is at stake here,” said Mary Kohart, lead attorney for the plaintiffs and partner at law firm Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. “In elections using these computerized voting systems, the machines can be subject to tampering and malfunctions where there is no independent record allowing either voters to verify their own votes or election officials to recount all votes if necessary.”

The complaint details numerous breakdowns and loss of votes by machines that have been certified for use in Pennsylvania by the Secretary of State. Incidents include the loss of votes in four precincts in Berks County last year, the 10,000 votes in three Pennsylvania counties that were not counted in the 2004 Presidential election, and the 200 machines in Philadelphia that experienced problems in the May 2006 primary. The complaint also details examples of lost votes in elections around the country from electronic voting machines.

“The General Assembly has specified that electronic voting machines must be absolutely accurate, they must be reliable and they must have a ‘permanent physical record’ before they can be used in Pennsylvania,” said Michael Churchill, co-counsel for the plaintiffs and attorney with the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP). “With the all-electronic voting systems certified by the Secretary of State, it’s impossible to ensure all votes are recorded and counted as intended by the voters.”

Pennsylvania Drops “No Match” Voter Restrictions PDF  | Print |  Email
By Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)   
August 13, 2006
The State of Pennsylvania has agreed to change a flawed voter registration policy that wrongly rejected many citizens voter registration applications. ACORN leaders announced the change and praised Secretary of State Cortes at a news conference on Thursday, August 10th at the State Building.


“The state dropped its ‘No Match, No Vote’ policy conditioned voter registration on the inherently flawed procedure of ‘database matching’ and wrongly denied registration to thousands of voters,” said Ali Kronley of PA ACORN.


Until recently, the Department of State had to confirm applicants’ information by “matching” applicants’ driver’s license or Social Security numbers to the respective government database.


Pennsylvania ACORN noticed the problem as part of a program to track the status of applicants who applied to register to vote through ACORN’s voter registration drive. The group then alerted the Department of State that although thousands of applicants provided correct information, they were being denied registration.


After a detailed internal review, the Department of State revised its policy and will now allow applicants who cannot be matched to become registered voters. All voters must show ID when they vote in a new polling location in Pennsylvania.


Only six other states adopted a policy similar to Pennsylvania’s. A federal district court in Seattle, Wash. blocked implementation of “No Match, No Vote” last week. U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo S. Martinez wrote in his August 1 opinion that the state “failed to demonstrate how an error or omission that prevents Washington state from matching an applicant’s information is material in determining whether that person is qualified to vote.”

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