Friday, May 17, 2019

NorCo Council Approves New Voting System

At a meeting attended by about 50 supporters of dueling voting systems, Northampton County Council voted 8-1 last night to approve a $2.9 million contract to purchase a new touchscreen voting system with a voter-verified paper trail. County officials expect to have it in place for November's election. The sole dissenting vote came from Council member Bob Werner.

This purchase was delayed by Council to see how this new system worked in Delaware, which conducted school board races on Tuesday. Northampton County's administrator Amy Cozze attended this election as an official observer, and reported the machines were unqualified success. Her endorsement was echoed by a Delaware State election official who phoned in. Castle Point, a Delaware newspaper, reports that county officials in the First State give the new system an A.

This is an unfunded mandate. Last year, Pennsylvania's Department of State directed all 67 counties to select new voting systems that include a voter verifiable paper trail, making post-election audits more accurate. They must be in place before the 2020 primary. Though the statewide cost of his change is estimated at $125 million to $150 million, the state has yet to provide any of the funding. The federal government has provided a $342,000 grant to Northampton County.

The Express Vote XL is a 32" touch screen similar to the system currently in use. It was the overwhelming and nonpartisan choice of election judges who attended a day-long presentation of different voting systems earlier this year. In March, the Elections Commission voted 3-2 to endorse this system over paper ballots that would be scanned.

Opponents of Express Vote XL, some of whom spoke several times, expressed security concerns even though it is a stand alone system with no network connection. They also complained that a vote could flip after it is cast, going to a different candidate than the person selected. They also argued that moving the machine would present calibration issues, making it inaccurate. They also criticized a bar code on ballots.

These concerns were discounted by ExpressVote XL vendors. There is no Internet connection. Testing on the state and federal level revealed that flipping is nonexistent. There also is no calibration problem. Vendors also pointed out that barcodes are common everywhere, from grocery store to hospital.

Numerous election judges and poll workers spoke in support of the new system. They argued it would be familiar to voters and present none of the privacy concerns or multiple lines that would accompany paper ballots.

In addition to election judges, Elections Commissioner Maude Hornick said she supported ExpressVote XL because she wants no election official to decide how she intended to vote.

Trudy Fatzinger, Secretary of Pennsylvania Council for the Blind, reported that ExpressVote XL is handicapped-friendly. This was a selling point to Executive Lamont McClure, who observed that 25% of Pennsylvania's registered voters have some form of disability.

What sold Council member Matt Dietz was money. When this matter was tabled a few weeks ago, Administrator Charles Dertinger warned that the County would be forced to be $20,000 in shipping costs. At Dietz' request, the vendor agreed to wave this additional cost.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are an Election Judge, correct? Do you support the purchase?

Anonymous said...

what information does the barcode contain?

Anonymous said...

What exactly is supposed to be wrong with our current machines? This sounds like a bunch of hogwash. More ways to waste taxpayer dollars.

Anonymous said...

Word is the meeting went off the rails. Did opponents of the machine get a chance to talk? Did county council give any good reasons for their vote or did they just do what the admisntration wanted?

Anonymous said...

Did Bob Werner give any reasons or solutions to voting no?

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of bullshit.

Anonymous said...

So Amy Cozze got promoted from Clerical to Administrator? What a jump? What are her qualifications?

Anonymous said...

I've voted in this county for 45 years and didn't think we had a problem. It's frustrating that our leaders are on a never ending quest to spend money to fix things that aren't really broken. Some friend of some politician is getting paid here, and most people are inured to these typical, greasy arrangements. It's no wonder most in the real, productive world consider politics almost criminal, and public service a low and disdainful calling.

Anonymous said...

I don’t trust any system - none!

Anonymous said...

7:13 your reading and comprehension skills are unmatched with your ignorance

Anonymous said...

10:43 Yeah well your moma so fat that the Earth orbits around her.

Anonymous said...

How much was paid to Putin and rocket man to import the infant sized human engineers inside the machines purchased from Shanghai? This doesn't even cover form the worm installed by the Clinton criminal enterprise.

Anonymous said...

State law says all counties need new voting machines. Watching the meeting online was informative. Public comment was respectful up until Deb Hunter spoke. She was loud and condescending and didn’t show she knew what she was talking about. She sounded like she was upset because she didn’t get her way. The lady from Delaware in charge of their states voting system clarified the misinformation that some of the public was putting forth. Most hacking that’s occurred happened with paper ballots. Don’t want to repeat the Gore VS Bush hanging chad debacle.

Peter J.Cochran said...

This is crazy ,we’re going to buy a machine for voters at over 2million dollars. You could hire people for the next election at $120.00 per hour to do paper . This is nuts. Those machines sit idle all year but 2 days and they will come up with another deal about voting.Housecrap.

Anonymous said...

Nice try Charles!

Anonymous said...

I thought the meting went as well as could be expected. Chairman Heckman kept everything in order and everyone was treated respectfully, even when they just repeated everything over and over again. People were given a time limit and no one was allowed to interrupt and when their tine was up they were thanked and sat down. Any attempt at interrupting was stopped. The meeting appeared to stay on track and ran smoothly. Anyone bitching about that is full of crap.

Council had their say and the vote was had. The bottom line seemed to be the election commission people who lost were mad and wanted council to change the vote. If anyone screwed up it was the election commission people for not doing things right.

County Council did the only right thing they could.

Anonymous said...

Exactly, I'd like to know as well.

Anonymous said...

An expensive solution in search of a problem. 71 million Americans are government goldbricks. 71 fucking million. The trough must be constantly slopped for these economic boat anchors. It's ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

The election commission is 5 people? 3 dems and 2 repubs? Seems fair. This whole incident comes off looking like an entitled brat that didnt get their way, or they have ulterior motives...cant figure out which it is. But I'm willing to bet its both.

Bernie O'Hare said...

“Word is the meeting went off the rails”

Watch the video. A lot of people wanted to speak. Each was given five minutes. This includes some people who had already spoken st previous meetings.

Anonymous said...

People!! The federal and state governments made them buy new machines. Don't blame the local officials. They were forced to upgrade and given no fed or state money to do it.

Anonymous said...

No Charles, you've just never been able to keep your fingers out of somebody else's pie.

Anonymous said...

Something's rotten in Denmark. Follow the money!

Anonymous said...

About time someone told Dertinger to shut up. He is so full of himself just like McClueless.