Nick Corasaniti has a good news, bad news story in the New York Times on ballot security. The bad news:
Vote totals in a Northampton County judge’s race showed one candidate, Abe Kassis, a Democrat, had just 164 votes out of 55,000 ballots across more than 100 precincts. Some machines reported zero votes for him. In a county with the ability to vote for a straight-party ticket, one candidate’s zero votes was a near statistical impossibility. Something had gone quite wrong.
The worse news:
The machines that broke in Northampton County are called the ExpressVoteXL and are made by Election Systems & Software, a major manufacturer of election machines used across the country. The ExpressVoteXL is among their newest and most high-end machines, a luxury “one-stop” voting system that combines a 32-inch touch screen and a paper ballot printer.
The good news was that the chairwoman of the county Republicans realized the numbers made no sense and promptly initiated an investigation. When officials counted the paper backup ballots generated by the same machines, they realized Kassis had narrowly won.
It is still unknown what caused the problem since the machines "are locked away for 20 days after an election according to state law." However, suspicions include a bug in the software, as well as a fundamentally flawed design.
Since the 2000 Bush-Gore election crisis and the hanging-chad controversy, voting machine vendors have been offering touchscreen voting machines as a solution to America’s voting woes — and security researchers have been pointing out that the products on offer were seriously, gravely defective.
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