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Population count Fayette County, PA
 
The estimated population in 2004 was 145,651. This was a decrease of  -2.01% from the 2000 census.

http://www.epodunk.com/cgi-bin/genInfo.php?locIndex=13974

In Fayette County, there are 89,067 registered voters, including 61,353 Democrats and 21,594 Republicans.
 
Time for the county commissioners to do their sworn duty and purge the voter registration rolls of deadwood, deceased names from the voter rolls, or voters who have moved and haven't changed address to Florida, New York, Chicago.  You get the idea.

Election official: No problems with new machines

2006 general election results
 
 
Fayette County Commissioners' Meeting Minutes
 
Motion by Commissioner Joe Hardy for Commissioners to join in defense of litigation filed against state Department to implement voter verified paper audit trail...
 
 
 
Note:  citizen and 51st District state Representative candidate John Mikita spoke in favor of the requirement for a voter verified paper audit trail.
 
also see comments on reported break-ins at Planning and Zoning Office and the charge that confidential material was leaked to the media...
 

Zimmerlink to remove ineligible voters from rolls

New Procedures and Voting Systems Put to the Test

Voting Equipment Manufacturer Hart InterCivic Serves Four Pennsylvania Counties


published May 17, 2006

AUSTIN, TX – Voters in Pennsylvania Tuesday voted on more accessible, more secure, more accurate and easier-to-use voting systems, according to Hart InterCivic, a supplier of electronic voting machines.

http://www.eslate.com/pr_view.php?prid=53

Obviously PA counties have not completed a necessary purge of deadwood - deceased, moved, - voters listed on the voter registration rolls.  The time has come to do so before the 2008 Presidential election.
 
In the tri-county area, nearly 268,000 people are registered to vote.
 
There are 25,192 registered voters in Greene County, including 16,955 Democrats and 6,627 Republicans. In Fayette County, there are 89,067 registered voters, including 61,353 Democrats and 21,594 Republicans. In Washington County, there are 153,735 registered voters, including 89,891 Democrats and 49,606 Republicans.
 
Low turnout predicted for Tuesday's election

 
7;30 pm MONDAY | MAY 8
LIVE DISCUSSION - Allegheny County's New Voting Machines. This follow-up episode invites community organizations who raise questions about, or oppose, the new voting machines.

Host Chris Moore welcomes guests:
Collin Lynch, VotePA
Tim Stevens, Black Political Empowerment Project
Paul W. O'Hanlon, Esq., Disabilities Law Project

http://www.wqed.org/tv/pm/index.shtml

 
 
 
Saturday, April 22, 2006

Fayette County officials are organizing an outreach program to teach residents about the new electronic voting machines, beginning with a demonstration Thursday night at the county's Public Service Building.

The demonstration, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., was scheduled to take advantage of the expected crowds for a candidates' night for the state 51st and 52nd Legislative Districts that evening at the State Theatre Center for the Arts.

The Public Service Building is at 22 E. Main St., Uniontown. ..

 
Fayette recently chose the HART InterCivic eSlate voting system to replace the county's lever machines, and to comply with the federal Help America Vote Act 0f 2002.
 
On this site, Vote Fix presents the argument for the county commissioners to also adopt Hart InterCivic's paper-ballot which utilizes the eScan system.
 
Read the Vote Fix argument here "Paper Ballot Make It A Voter Choice"
 
 
 
Note:  Voter Verifiable This feature is not yet authorized by PA Law.
 
Demonstration of the eSlate only is also included at the Fayette County website
 
 
Hart InterCivic CISV Catalog includes pricing for unit and descriptions
 
Judges Booth Controller
 
A part of the eSlate Precinct Voting System (PVS), the control console that manages up to 12 eSlate voting terminals. The JBC reads the precinct and ballot information from a Mobile Ballot Box (MBB) and stores cast vote records (CVRs).

The JBC operator selects a voter's precinct from a list, then the JBC printer prints a ticket with an Access Code that will present the correct ballot style to a voter when the Access Code is entered at the eSlate.

The JBC's printer also produces activity reports and Provisional Access Codes.

When the voter presses the CAST BALLOT button on the eSlate, the JBC stores the voter's cast vote record in its memory and Judges Booth Controller writes the CVR to the MBB.

The CVRs collected on the MBB are read into the eSlate Tally System to tabulate the votes.

http://www.hartintercivic.com/innerpage.php?pageid=55#eslate_voting
 
election results, (Fayette County) maintained at http://server.lcsys.net/vote/elections.asp
 
 
 
 

The Fayette County Election Board has established a policy requiring notification of any complaints or election irregularities to be reported in writing within 24 hours of their occurrence.

In a report signed last month by board members Angela M. Zimmerlink, Joseph A. Hardy III and Thomas Frankhouser, the board gives six recommendations regarding future hearings.
...The election board also issued three findings and recommendations as a result of a hearing held earlier this year for North Union Township Election District 3 regarding reversal of the Democratic and Republican party labels on the now-obsolete lever machines the county recently replaced. During the hearing, testimony of which was spread out over two dates, voters, judge of election, inspectors of elections and election bureau employees testified.

Although the board ruled there was no conclusive testimony or evidence of "intentional action to tamper with an election machines and the incorrect placement of the party labels may have been an unintentional oversight," the board made three recommendations.

The three recommendations include: the development of an inspection checklist for each machine by the inspectors for each election that must be signed, dated and returned to the director of the election bureau; a reminder notice to be sent to all judges of election that no person can make alterations to the machine and the recommendation that the judges of election must make a visual inspection of each machines when they are opened. Ironically, the machines for which the election board made the recommendations no longer will be used in Fayette County. The county's lever machines have been replaced with smaller, electronic voting machines.

The eSlate voting machines provided by Hart Intercivic will be used for the May 16 primary. To use the machines, voters must turn a dial and push buttons to register their choices on the screen. A public education program prior to the primary is being finalized and the dates for it will be announced, according to Laurie Nicholson, director of the Fayette County Election Board.
 
more

2000 Census
 
Voters: Measured by the count of citizens age 18 and older at the time of the 2000 census, Fayette County has the following numbers of potential voters:
    Total: 114,650
    Male: 53,516    (46.7%)
    Female: 61,134    (53.3%)

 
 
In Fayette County, a 1997 scandal over absentee ballots raised questions about registration numbers. A grand jury investigation that followed concluded with a report speculating that at least 10 percent of the registered voters were either dead or resided elsewhere.

However, when Fayette officials conducted an investigation last year at the grand jury's recommendation, they found only 190 names that could be purged from the rolls - 10 who had died and 180 who had moved out of state. Another 1,300 names were placed in an inactive file after letters came back with notations that forwarding addresses had expired.

Laurie Nicholson, director of Fayette County's Election Bureau, said those names can be purged if the individuals fail to vote in two consecutive federal elections.

She said statistics that show 72 percent of Fayette's voting-age population as registered voters are as accurate a representation as possible under the motor voter law...
 

This year, VIP launched a pilot voter registration clean-up program, focused on Fayette County, Pa., and Atlantic Beach, N.C. In Fayette County, Democrats outnumber registered Republicans better than 3-1, according to data from the Pennsylvania department of state. In Atlantic, Democrats hold a 58-42 percent registration advantage over Republicans, according to the state department of elections.

VIP says Fayette was chosen because it was home to an absentee ballot fraud scheme that resulted in three election fraud convictions earlier this year, according to its Web site.

1999 Fayette panel recommendations

http://www.angelfire.com/pa2/truthwatch/

Updated page Monday March 28, 2006
 

Elected Fayette County board of commissioners are about to consider entering into a contract with a vendor of voting systems, likely in mid-March. 
 
Five of six invited vendors presented and displayed their products during separate sessions to an audience that included public citizens, county commissioners, judges of election, and poll workers.
 
My overview of the presentations can be accessed at:
 
 
Controversy has surrounded Direct Recording electronic format voting systems to this day.  Many voter activists are opposed to any system which doesn't include a voter verified "receipt."  Beware.  A receipt is different from a voter verified paper audit trail.  The paper audit trail does make common sense to have available. 
 
Currently, however, Pennsylvania considers such as not able to meet the anonymity and privacy requirements of the PA Constitution.
 
Fayette Past:
 

Updated page March 11, 2006

By Chris Foreman
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, March 11, 2006

Armand and Christina DeFrank live in the same home and work at the same Fayette County voting district, but they have different opinions about the county's mandated change to electronic voting machines.

Armand DeFrank, 41, says the various machines have their good and bad points but should be accessible to older and disabled voters.

His 70-year-old mother is skeptical. She has worked at the North Union Township District 1 poll for 21 years and expects a chaotic transition at the May 16 primary from the lever voting machines county voters have been using since their purchase in 1976.

"It's going to hold up a lot in the voting at the polls, and I don't think they're going to know what they're doing," Christina DeFrank said Friday. ..

"I don't really see anything wrong with the other machines we've used. (Our elections) always went pretty smooth. There were no problems."

Fayette County commissioners agree with Christina DeFrank that the lever machines still have years of use left, but the federal Help America Vote Act led to the decertification of lever systems in state or federal elections.

Faced with losing $1.1 million in grants if the county fails to buy electronic machines before the primary, county officials have just 65 days remaining to pick a model, train poll workers and educate voters.

The commissioners will audition four machines Monday at a meeting at the Public Service Building at 22 E. Main St., Uniontown. County officials estimate they'll need at least 200 machines for the 105 precincts.

"I'm prepared to make a decision," Commissioner Vince Vicites said yesterday. "We have no choice but to comply with this mandate. It's the law."

The price tag still is undetermined, Vicites said, particularly because a consortium of Southwestern Pennsylvania counties dissolved while litigation in Westmoreland County challenged whether the electorate had the right to a referendum on the new equipment.

Earlier this month, the state Supreme Court overturned a Commonwealth Court ruling that sided with a citizens' group that believes Westmoreland's purchase of machines without a referendum violated voters' rights.

Fayette County Election Bureau Director Laurie Nicholson said many poll workers and election judges attended demonstrations by five vendors in January.

"They got their hands on them, so they're not as afraid of them now," she said. ...

 

Updated page January 21, 2006
 
Review (by citizen mom) of demonstrations of voting machines and systems for Fayette County poll workers, county commissioners, judges of election, and the public.  Five of six vendors presented the setup of the voting machine, relayed how poll-workers would run the polling place with some hands-on practice, and answered questions.
 

Voter coercion claim dismissed
By The Tribune-Review
Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Fayette County Board of Elections has dismissed claims of voter coercion alleged by the presumptive winner of the Brownsville mayoral race.

Before the Nov. 8 polls closed, political newcomer Lewis W. Hosler filed challenges in the borough's 1st Ward against two absentee voters, Elizabeth Teslovich and Ann Foster.

The board decided that Teslovich and Foster were qualified electors who were within the municipality on Election Day but unable to appear at their precinct in person. Commissioners Angela Zimmerlink and Vincent Vicites signed the decision.

With those absentee ballots counted, Hosler leads incumbent Norma J. Ryan 464 votes to 453, according to the unofficial count. Ryan gained one vote since the results that were announced on Nov. 8.

 

Whispers
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - 01.15.06
via pa clean sweep
 
CONNECTED TUTOR. Fayette County tax collectors, frustrated this year by a cut in their commissions for collecting taxes, are seeking advice from a retired union representative who has been a political ally of Commissioner Vincent Vicites.

Martin Griglak was the guest speaker at the tax collectors' association meeting in December and they also asked him to be available for guidance on an "as-needed basis." Griglak, a former national representative for the Communications Workers of America, was a campaign chairman for Vicites.

In December 2004, Vicites joined fellow commissioners Angela Zimmerlink and Joe Hardy in approving a new pay system for tax collectors. Instead of the 3.5 percent commission the collectors had received, the commissioners decided to pay them $1.50 for every tax bill.

Vicites briefly advocated a higher flat fee before making the vote unanimous. The pay change is effective this month.

In last year's budget, which included an approximate 60 percent millage increase, commissioners reserved $463,940 for real estate commissions. The 2006 budget, featuring a 25 percent millage decrease, allots $114,700 for commissions.

Many of the county's 39 tax collectors are upset about the funding change because they say most of the money goes toward managing busy public offices rather than into their pockets.
 

 

Updated page November 16, 2003 noon
 
Will request board of commissioners and newly elected commissioners consider attending this important event:
 
Commerces NIST Launches Voting Standards Initiative at December Symposium
Symposium to Bring Together Stakeholders in Building Trust, Confidence in Voting Systems
 

As part of its responsibilities under the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), the Commerce Departments National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will hold a symposium on building trust and confidence in voting systems at the agencys Gaithersburg, Md., headquarters on Dec. 10-11, 2003. The two-day event will bring together a host of people with an interest in election technology, including federal, state and local election officials; university researchers; independent testing laboratories; election law experts; hardware and software vendors; and others concerned about or involved with the latest developments in voting systems.

http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/releases/voting_symposium.htm

It has come to my attention that precinct workers told voters who showed up at the polls on election day that they could vote for 3 candidates for the office of county commissioner, rather than two.  Will check with election bureau on the potential for over-votes on "lever" machines.   I had always believed the over-votes were not possible with the lever machines.  The curtain should not be able to be opened.  If over-votes were possible, how were the votes recorded on the lever machines, and would those votes all be counted, or rejected?  Again, will check and update.
 
It is apparent that the promised "how-to" video on election procedures was not produced before the November election. 
 
What the Voter Integrity panel was going to do:
 
Minus Cavanagh's support, based in deference to Mercuri's expertise, the issue of purchasing new voting machines appears dead at least through the end of the year, as neither Commissioner Ronald M. Nehls nor Commission Chairman Vincent A. Vicites has made it a top priority.

In a somewhat related matter, the commissioners unanimously agreed Tuesday to place on Thursday's agenda a vote to spend up to $1,000 to produce a "how-to" video on the voting process.

Wharton Township Supervisor Joe Henning, a member of the voter integrity panel, said the video would start with the voter registration process and include instructions on how to properly use the voting machines.

"We'd like to get something going before this general election (in November)," said Henning, who added that he has talked to HSTV about the cost of producing the video. He said the video could be distributed to high schools and senior citizen centers, as well as other civic groups, and also could be broadcast on cable as a public service - all designed to foster a better-informed electorate.

07/23/2003

Updated August 10, 2003
 
While the new voting machine purchase has been put on hold, the board of commissioners has not followed up on the presentation made to them at the last commissioners' meeting.  They were apprised of the resolution making the rounds, the David Dill Resolution, which demands no machines be purchased or used without a voter-verified paper trail.
 
Why isn't the board of commissioners concerned about the kinds of touch-screen machines already certified by the state of PA, or those that may be certified before the 2004 presidential election?

Quite a bit has happened in under two months
 
Commissioner delays move to purchase voting machines
By Paul Sunyak , Herald-Standard 07/23/2003

Fayette County Commissioner Sean M. Cavanagh, the chief proponent of buying new electronic voting machines for the county's voting precincts, has decided to delay that initiative on the recommendation of a Bryn Mawr College expert.

Dr. Rebecca Mercuri, an electronic voting expert and assistant professor of computer science, recently advised Cavanagh to hold off on purchasing new machines because of evolving technology and federal standards.

"Because of new standards, the ability to get a return receipt, her recommendation was to hold off a little longer. This issue is becoming a national issue," said Cavanagh. "But the current lever-style machines (used by Fayette County) remain on the government's hit list to be removed."

At Tuesday's commission agenda meeting, Cavanagh said that the new voting machine issue is "off the table" as far as he's concerned, as he wishes to comply with Mercuri's recommendation as well as the wishes of the county's

volunteer-staffed voter integrity panel.

Earlier, Cavanagh had expressed a desire to invite voting machine vendors to the county, to conduct a demonstration of their wares. He said the county's 220 lever-style voting machines, which date to the 1970s and weigh 700 pounds, are archaic and won't meet federal standards set to go into effect in a few years.

Minus Cavanagh's support, based in deference to Mercuri's expertise, the issue of purchasing new voting machines appears dead at least through the end of the year, as neither Commissioner Ronald M. Nehls nor Commission Chairman Vincent A. Vicites has made it a top priority.

More

Fayette may not need referendum for new voting machine
By Paul Sunyak , Herald-Standard 07/10/2003

If the Fayette County commissioners want to buy new electronic voting machines this year, voters won't have to approve the purchase via a referendum as previously believed.

Since the update is mandated by 2006 by federal law, the Pennsylvania Department of State has determined that the referendum isn't required - a move that eliminates one procedural hurdle in the process.

"It's my opinion that if Fayette County is acquiring new machines pursuant to the federal legislation, the referendum will not be necessary," said Sheryl Heid, assistant county solicitor. Heid added that the Department of State has notified the county that it doesn't need a referendum "because of the pre-emption of the federal statute requiring changes in the type of voting machine."

Brian McDonald, spokesman for the Department of State, said that the Help America Vote Act of 2002 requires that voting machines be accessible to people with disabilities and to those who don't use English as a primary language.

Such requirements appear to doom lever-style voting machines, like those used in Fayette. McDonald said that Fayette is one of 18 Pennsylvania counties that use lever machines exclusively, and that another six counties use them in conjunction with paper ballots.

"From our understanding ... of what is going to be laid down by the act, it is our opinion that those lever voting machines are not going to be in compliance with the law," said McDonald. "As of right now, it's the department's opinion that any of the type of machines that are used across the state, with the exception of lever voting machines, would be acceptable according to the preliminary plan."

Although more exact details will be forthcoming from the yet-to-be-formed Federal Elections Administration Commission, McDonald said the state has been told the federal government intends to provide funding of slightly less than $4,000 per precinct to replace voting machines.

At that figure, Fayette would stand to receive approximately $420,000 to replace machines in its 105 voting precincts.

McDonald said that the Department of State plans to hold three public hearings across Pennsylvania in the next two weeks regarding the new federal requirement for voting machines. He also said that the state could give sound advice to counties that want to replace them this year, although to his knowledge none have taken that route.

Heid said that the Department of State has thus far approved two specific electronic voting systems: Advanced Voting Solutions' WINvote and Diebold's AccuVote-TS R-6. She said that more information is available at the department's Web site, www.dos.state.pa.us.

"But many more (systems) are expected to be approved as the process continues," said Heid, who added that another complicating factor is that the exact federal allocation hasn't been determined.

While replacing the current machines remains a high priority for Commissioner Sean M. Cavanagh, Commission Chairman Vincent A. Vicites said the issue contains so many unknown variables - particularly concerning cost and legal compliance - that he only favors conducting research at this time.

Said Cavanagh, "I'm in favor of getting rid of those machines, sure I am. But I need a second commissioner to be for it."

Cavanagh also said that the county's 105 voting precincts should be pared to 80 or so, a move that hasn't been made because more precincts offer greater political party influence.

"There's precincts out there that only have 100 voters, and are being kept intact just to have a (Democrat Party) committeeman and committeewoman. Overall, it's just not cost effective. You can't put a polling place on every street corner," said Cavanagh. He added that the current number of precincts is costly to maintain, as the county must pay for Election Day workers at each site.

"There should be 80 polls, maximum, in the county," said Cavanagh. "There's just a lot of stonewalling. Vince Vicites has been a big stonewaller, saying, " You can't, you can't."

However, Vicites said that he doesn't want to "shoot from the hip" on anything regarding new voting machines, particularly since so many questions remain unanswered. With a projected cost of perhaps $1.5 million, Vicites said his interest starts with making sure the county qualifies for the maximum federal reimbursement - something that might not happen if, for example, it buys machines that aren't on the final approved list.

"Right now, I'm in favor of researching it only," said Vicites. "There's a lot of things we have to decide. Mainly, how we fund them. How much money is available? And how many machines do we need to buy? ... All the I's and the T's have to be crossed.

More...

Modernizing voting:  commissioners to shop for new machines, by Paul Sunyak, Herald-Standard. Friday-Saturday, June 6-7, 2003

 
During public comment, Delinda Young asked that the matter be tabled, mostly because experts have criticized certain touch-screen voting machines for their lack of an adequate paper trail.  Young urged the commissioners to consider only those machines that permit some reliable system of voter verification.
 
 
More search archives keep on searching for the June 6 article and please let me know when you find the link!
 
Cavanagh supports buying modern voting machines
By Paul Sunyak , Herald-Standard 06/04/2003

Fayette County Commissioner Sean M. Cavanagh wants to buy new electronic voting machines and commit another $600,000 to the Fayette County Business Park, funding both initiatives from the $3.6 million remaining in the county's bond fund.

Cavanagh floated both proposals at Tuesday's agenda meeting, noting that the current voting machines are archaic and that the commissioners need to fulfill their pledge to pump $2 million into the Route 40 park.

"These (current) machines are pretty old. I'd like to go out and see what some prices are," said Cavanagh, who added that neighboring Greene County has already made the switch to faster and less cumbersome electronic voting devices.

Cavanagh said that Fayette currently uses 220 bulky and hard-to-move machines purchased in the 1970s. He said that some of them are kept on-site in their respective voting precincts, in garages and residences, in a warehousing setup "that has to go."

Cavanagh said he envisions the county inviting vendors to set up displays and give demonstrations of their machines, in a process that would include public and media participation. He said that he'd like to make the new machines a legacy of the current administration.

"That's something I'd like to accomplish ... by the end of this administration (in December)," said Cavanagh, who added that he'd also like to pare the county's 105 voting precincts.

Chairman Vincent A. Vicites said there was "no harm in exploring" the idea of new machines, but noted that cost is the bottom line. Vicites added that should the commissioners decide to purchase new machines, a key element would be drawing up the specifications.

"You have to spec it out and know what you're asking for," said Vicites, who suggested that the county get hold of the Greene County bid specifications as part of the decision-making process.

Vicites said that the county could qualify for federal funds to offset the purchase, noting that the county might get a minimum reimbursement of $250 per old machine.

Nehls said he had a meeting scheduled with a California vendor on Feb. 18 but not all commissioners could attend. He said he'd like to reschedule that meeting. Nehls said the California company charges $5,000 per electronic voting machine, which would bring the total replacement bill to just over $1 million, not deducting any proceeds from selling the old machines.

Vicites said that it's important to consider whether and when any additional state money might become available before deciding to pull the trigger on a mass purchase of new machines.

The commissioners agreed to start the process of putting together the necessary bid specifications. Cavanagh said that going through the process doesn't obligate the commissioners to making a purchase.

More...

Keep on checking out Vote Fix, the only site to bring together all of the truth of the situation of voting fraud, no matter what that truth reveals.

 

 

Updated July 11, 2003
 
Made a follow-up call to PA Department of State Elections Informaton and learned the state according to a spokeswoman doesn't have a definition for voter verified paper trail and they don't know what a voter verified paper trail will be.  The spokeswoman said the state does not know whether the electronic machines listed as certified by the state of PA under state law would meet that condition.  The currently listed state certified machines were approved under the state's 17 criteria, she stated.
 
 
More forthcoming...
 
What prompted the call to the state:
 
Herald-Standard article by Paul Sunyak, "Fayette may not need referendum for new voting machine," July 10, 2003.
 
Excerpt
 
If the Fayette County commissioners want to buy new electronic voting machines this year, voters won't have to approve the purchase via a referendum as previously believed.

Since the update is mandated by 2006 by federal law, the Pennsylvania Department of State has determined that the referendum isn't required - a move that eliminates one procedural hurdle in the process.

"It's my opinion that if Fayette County is acquiring new machines pursuant to the federal legislation, the referendum will not be necessary," said Sheryl Heid, assistant county solicitor. Heid added that the Department of State has notified the county that it doesn't need a referendum "because of the pre-emption of the federal statute requiring changes in the type of voting machine."

Brian McDonald, spokesman for the Department of State, said that the Help America Vote Act of 2002 requires that voting machines be accessible to people with disabilities and to those who don't use English as a primary language.

Such requirements appear to doom lever-style voting machines, like those used in Fayette. McDonald said that Fayette is one of 18 Pennsylvania counties that use lever machines exclusively, and that another six counties use them in conjunction with paper ballots.

"From our understanding ... of what is going to be laid down by the act, it is our opinion that those lever voting machines are not going to be in compliance with the law," said McDonald. "As of right now, it's the department's opinion that any of the type of machines that are used across the state, with the exception of lever voting machines, would be acceptable according to the preliminary plan."

Although more exact details will be forthcoming from the yet-to-be-formed Federal Elections Administration Commission, McDonald said the state has been told the federal government intends to provide funding of slightly less than $4,000 per precinct to replace voting machines.

At that figure, Fayette would stand to receive approximately $420,000 to replace machines in its 105 voting precincts.

McDonald said that the Department of State plans to hold three public hearings across Pennsylvania in the next two weeks regarding the new federal requirement for voting machines. He also said that the state could give sound advice to counties that want to replace them this year, although to his knowledge none have taken that route.

Heid said that the Department of State has thus far approved two specific electronic voting systems: Advanced Voting Solutions' WINvote and Diebold's AccuVote-TS R-6. She said that more information is available at the department's Web site, www.dos.state.pa.us.

"But many more (systems) are expected to be approved as the process continues," said Heid, who added that another complicating factor is that the exact federal allocation hasn't been determined.

While replacing the current machines remains a high priority for Commissioner Sean M. Cavanagh, Commission Chairman Vincent A. Vicites said the issue contains so many unknown variables - particularly concerning cost and legal compliance - that he only favors conducting research at this time.

Said Cavanagh, "I'm in favor of getting rid of those machines, sure I am. But I need a second commissioner to be for it."

Developing

Our local county commissioners may move ahead on the issue to replace our current mechanical lever machines with some other style, possibly touch-screen machines, as indicated by Commissioner Sean Cavanagh:
 
Matthew Junker, Tribune Review, Thursday, May 29, 2003
 

Cavanagh also said he'd like to have the county purchase all-new touchscreen voting machines to replace the 700-pound mechanical voting machines.

 
An article in the Tribune-Review June 6, 2003 Fayette commissioners mull new voting system shows the same commissioner doesn't have a problem with new borrowing in a bond issue to help pay for replacement machines.  The question arises:  is it necessary to borrow monies for the purchase of new machines if federal and state monies could become available before the 2004 election? 
 

According to Cavanagh, a $1 million system would cost county taxpayers $80,000 annually in principal and interest payments if the county uses an existing line of credit it has through Washington County.

"That's pretty minimal," Cavanagh said.

In addition to the cost, the commissioners, according to state law, also must approve a ballot question so that the public can authorize the purchase.

The referendum is written in the law "because of the cost," said county Solicitor Joe Ferens.

It was unclear why a referendum to purchase the machines has to be placed on the November General Election ballot - further research produced state legislation which refers to a ballot question
 
 
 
SECTION 9.  SECTIONS 1103-A(E), 1105-A(A), (B), (E) AND (F)
     AND 1106-A OF THE ACT, ADDED JULY 11, 1980 (P.L.600, NO.128),  ARE AMENDED TO READ:
    SECTION 1103-A.  PLACING THE QUESTION ON THE BALLOT; ELECTION  THEREON.--* * *
(E)  IF A MAJORITY OF THE ELECTORS OF ANY COUNTY OR
     MUNICIPALITY, VOTING ON SUCH QUESTION, SHALL VOTE AGAINST THE  ADOPTION OF AN ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEM THE QUESTION [SHALL NOT]  MAY AGAIN BE SUBMITTED TO THE VOTERS OF SUCH COUNTY OR MUNICIPALITY [WITHIN A PERIOD OF ONE HUNDRED THREE WEEKS].
    20010S0824B2435                
 
Keep this issue going.  The commissioners may not have a scheduled regular meeting until the end of July, but that doesn't mean they won't schedule a special meeting to vote on something related to this very serious issue. 
 
Keep visiting this site.  Please send comments, or add links on the resources pages.
 

Feb. 27, 2003 Voting Software Firm Gets Sued  By Joanna Glasner

The chief complaint from many computer scientists is that the touch-screen voting systems now used in many U.S. elections do not provide a verifiable audit trail. They say voters have no way of knowing whether the vote they enter on the screen is accurately recorded in the computer's memory.

To solve this problem, many computer scientists, including Dill, want computerized voting systems to provide a paper printout that voters could see, and that would count as the official ballot in the event of a recount.

Although no municipality is using such a system in the United States yet, the state of California recently created a task force to examine the issue of voter-verified election results.

more...

Silicon Valley wary about paperless voting machines 2/25/2003

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) At least one in 10 voters nationwide cast ballots in the last presidential election on electronic voting machines, whose popularity is growing fast as counties replace the kinds of antiquated systems blamed for Florida's hanging chad debacle.

But in Silicon Valley, computer scientists are calling for a halt to the trend at least until voting machines are redesigned to produce a paper record of every vote.

The idea is to provide more protection against hackers or political hacks who might tamper with the results.

The Santa Clara County board of supervisors was expected to vote Tuesday on whether to invest $20 million in 5,000 machines that produce paper receipts. Approval would make it the first county in the nation to purchase the so-called voter-verified paper backup system.

"Silicon Valley is looked to for answers in technology, and you've got a ton of engineers out here who understand security issues better than anyone," said David Dill, a Stanford University computer science professor who spearheaded a petition demanding a paper trail. "I hope people notice the fact that we are taking this seriously."

Putting faith in systems that create no records outside cyberspace, they say, could undermine the democratic process, creating the opportunity for election fraud of unprecedented proportions.

More...

Hey, we don't need a state appointed task force to determine that a voter-verified paper trail is absolutely necessary to have if the commissioners are going to consider the touch-screen voting machines.

We need common sense from our local elected officials.

Recent developments will be posted here.  Remember, county commissioners may place a referendum on the Fall ballot - it is important to know what type of machines are certified by the state of Pennsylvania - are these inclusive of the touch-screen machines with the voter-verified paper trail?
 
Commissioners should be aware of Rep. Rush Holt's federal legislation.
 
Before they lock our county into any type of new machines, they need to guarantee us that the type of machines to replace the current style are fraud and tamper-proof.
 
It looks as if one of the commissioners made contact with Rebecca Mercuri!  Let's keep a check on whether Mercuri is asked which touch-screen machines are viable with that necessary voter-verified paper trail.
 
 
Update:
 
By Paul Sunyak , Herald-Standard
06/08/2003
Thirty-two percent of Fayette County's 700-pound voting machines are stored at polling places year-round, a practice that Commissioner Sean M. Cavanagh said should be changed, based on input from an expert in the field.

While 144 of Fayette's 212 machines are stored in a secured room at the Fayette County Bridge Department, 68 of them are kept where they are used, according to Larry Blosser, the chief machine technician at the county election bureau.

Those locations include places like the Belle Vernon Apartments, a senior citizen high-rise; the community room of South Hills Terrace, a public housing complex; the East Side fire station in Connellsville; and the Connellsville Township Volunteer Fire Department.

Machines also are stored year-round at Divito Park in Leisenring, the Mountain Fellowship Center in Markleysburg, Harvey McClelland's garage in East Millsboro, Wilma Rhodes' garage in Martin, John Butcho's garage in Grays Landing and the Ruth E. Wilson residence in Whitsett.

Cavanagh said he spoke Friday to Dr. Rebecca Mercuri, a professor at Bryn Mawr College near Philadelphia who is an expert in the field of elections.

"She said it's a bad practice. She was kind of stunned when I told her that some of them are stored in garages or left in a hall somewhere," said Cavanagh, who advocated moving all the voting machines to a central storage location. "I think it should be (done). We have the storage capacity out there at the bridge department. I never did like the practice, ever. I always did talk about (changing) it."
 
More...
 
Let's not lose sight of the Help America Vote Act - mandates which may be unfunded, but obviously which have propelled our state to adopt legislation to implement the requirements of the Act.
 
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