ES&S (Election Systems & Software), the largest vendor of voting systems in the U.S. was seeking to certify a touchscreen voting machine that counts votes with barcodes in New York State. The voting machine is called the ExpressVote XL.
Security experts and good government groups say that the ExpressVote XL has a flawed design that makes it dangerously insecure, and that it is also glitchy (1), and over-priced. Many of them strongly oppose its use. Voters with disabilities have often struggled to use it.
Emails obtained through public records requests reveal that in May of 2019, the New York State Board of Elections halted certification of the ExpressVote XL due to concerns that state regulations do not allow its use.
After the certification process was halted, the ES&S legal team threatened to sue the Board stating, “ES&S has authorized our firm to take any and all legal action necessary to preserve their rights...as your… actions have put ES&S in a position to lose… many business opportunities to sell the XL system to New York State customers.”
The New York State Board of Elections capitulated and is now poised to certify the ExpressVote XL.
Other documents obtained through public records request reveal that ES&S deceived the board about the company's past/present litigation and did not provide the New York State Board with all the documents it was legally required to provide.
ES&S has now threatened to sue SMART Elections, sending a cease & desist letter to us, for providing information to the public about these issues.
Andrew Appel, the Eugene Higgins Professor Computer Science at Princeton University has written a blog post explaining that "the folks at SMART Elections are aware of these scientific studies, and are basing their journalism and advocacy on good science."
HIs blog post clarifies that "The ExpressVote XL, if hacked, can add, delete, or change votes on individual ballots — and no voting machine is immune from hacking. That’s why optical-scan voting machines are the way to go, because they can’t change what’s printed on the ballot. And let me explain some more: The ExpressVote XL, if adopted, will deteriorate our security and our ability to have confidence in our elections, and indeed it is a bad voting machine. And expensive, too!"
We must continue to follow expert guidance in our elections and not succumb to vendor pressure to buy expensive systems that do not serve the public. It is imperative that we protect our right to accessible, accurate, private, and secure elections.
Below are related documents
1. “As many as 30% of Northampton County’s ExpressVote XL voting machines had flawed touch screens that prevented voters from selecting candidates listed on the edge of the ballot. At the same time, machines failed to electronically count any votes for some candidates in cross-filed races.” - The Morning call 12/19/19
Common Cause Is "Vehemently Opposed" to the ExpressVote XL
" 'New York is among the “36 states and D.C. .... that use voter-marked, machine-scanned paper ballots that security experts consider the gold standard' 1. for election security. That is why Common Cause/NY is alarmed to see the New York State Board of Elections move in a direction that would undermine the security of our elections.
Common Cause/NY vehemently opposes the certification of the ExpressVote XL and strongly urges the New York State Board of Elections to act in the best interests of New Yorkers and our elections."
1 Politico, “The Scramble to Secure America’s Voting Machines,” August 6th, 2019.
HYBRID VOTING MACHINES ARE NOT SECURE
SMART Elections has produced this easy-to-read PDF that explains the major security concerns with "hybrid" or "All-In-One voting systems, like the Dominion ICE, the ExpressVote and the ExpressVote XL.
The document is based on the work of Professor Andrew Appel of Princeton and Professor Philip Stark at the University of California Berkeley.
Read the full paper here.
On 1/28th the New York State Board of Elections unanimously rejected certification of the ExpressVote XL for use in New York. Election reform advocates are now working to pass legislation to make this decision part of New York law.
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