Philadelphia Commissioners decision on new voting machines was a failure of democracy.
The City Commissioner’s announcement today on Philadelphia's next generation of voting machines – in the midst of a snowstorm and just hours before the City shut down – was a failure of representative democracy.
For the past five weeks, hundreds of the City’s residents made phone calls, sent letters, and testified before the Commissioners – to lobby in favor of the most secure, convenient and least expensive voting option – hand-marked paper ballots.
Election security experts have made clear that only Hand-Marked Paper Ballots (not so-called “voter-marked ballots”) can provide real security for our nation’s elections.
HAND-MARKED PAPER BALLOTS ARE:
THE MOST SECURE FROM HACKING
THE LEAST EXPENSIVE
THE MOST CONVENIENT (FOR VOTING BY ALLOWING MULTIPLE PEOPLE TO VOTE AT THE SAME TIME)
ENDORSED BY NONPARTISAN ELECTION INTEGRITY NONPROFITS THE NATIONAL ELECTION DEFENSE COALITION AND VERIFIED VOTING AS A PRIMARY VOTING SYSTEM
Yet, the Commissioners chose to ignore that advocacy and select the ES&S ExpressVoteXL, their favored vendor from the start of the drafting of their Request for Proposal, simply because it looked like the old machines - without serious considerations about security, handicapped access, and the use of unreadable barcodes to actually count the votes.
Pennsylvania’s own Blue Ribbon Commission report recommended against barcode voting and Verified Voting, a national nonpartisan election integrity group, estimates that ballot marking devices as a primary voting system can cost more than three times as much as optical scanners for counting hand marked paper ballots.
With $40+ million in taxpayer dollars on the line and a decision that may be with us for a decade, sufficient time should have been provided by the Commissioners for security experts and we the people to examine these machines before a decision was made. That did not happen today.
If we cannot trust that our votes are accurately and securely counted, our democracy is in jeopardy.
We are committed to challenging this decision and fighting to keep cybersecurity and accessibility central in the voting machine acquisition process.