Those computerized voting systems and the 2023 elections

Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, November 9, 2023

As Yogi Berra would say, “it’s deja vu all over again.”

Although journalists are discouraged from covering the issue, there’s this: Problems with voting machines were reported in Pennsylvania and Kentucky in the 2023 elections.

Problems with voting machines in Madison County, Kentucky were reported. / Video Image

In his campaign speeches, former President Donald J. Trump has vowed to follow France’s example and bring back same day voting with paper ballots. Most elected (selected?) U.S. officials at all levels are silent on the issue.

In Northampton County, Pennsylvania, a problem in which the ES&S ExpressVoteXL system flipped votes was initially reported as a “coding error by ABC27. However, the customer operations department for ES&S reported it as a “human error based on someone from our team that programmed the election and they made a mistake putting the printed text on the card as compared to the vote screen.”

Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure expressed his frustration that the mistake wasn’t caught during pre-election testing.

“I’m livid at the election folks and ES&S,” McClure said.

The ES&S system flipped votes on a the superior court retention question for two judges: Judge Jack Panella and Victor P. Stabile. According to a Judge of Election in one of the precincts, the third retention race for Judge Jennifer R. Sletvold was not effected by the “glitch.” If a voter voted all three as “yes” or all three as “no”, the printed ballot accurately represented what was on the selection screen. However, if a voter voted “yes” and “no” in either combination for the two judges, they would be reversed on the ballot when it printed.

During an X Space hosted on Tuesday by AZ People’s Alliance’s Jeannette Garcia and attorney Stefanie Lambert of Michigan, a local Judge of Election in Northampton said “the issue persisted the entire day.”

Several advisories were given to poll workers from three different election judges throughout the day. The advisories were sent via county-distributed cell phones that were in each precinct. The precinct the Northampton election judge worked at had begun issuing provisional/emergency ballots to voters, despite not having the secrecy envelopes for each.

“When you look at the press conference from our county executives, they have such a soothing and calming effect. But that is not, in fact, the reality that was going on in the polling stations,” the election judge said. “It was the complete opposite.”

Poll workers were first told not to use the machines, then told to use the machines but the votes would “show up in reverse but counted correctly,” then told “that the paper receipt will record their selection” and that “voters should vote how they intend to on the screen,” and later that “voters are advised to check the paper receipt to be sure it properly reflects their intended vote.”

In Kentucky, problems with voting machines in Madison County persisted into election day, reports said.

“Local voters are being warned at the polls to check and double-check their ballots before submitting their votes, as the voting machines have been malfunctioning, according to reports from poll workers and voters,” the Richmond Register reported on Tuesday.

Madison County Clerk Kenny Barger said the computerized system was not accurately calculating where people touched the screen when they voted.

“This is not good customer service…That’s not how things should work. It should perform the way they expect it, and it’s not,” Barger said.

Your Choice

Please Support Real Journalism