May 17, 2006 |
State Reps. Babette Josephs and Angel Cruz appeared to survive. Johnny Doc showed his clout. And Democratic Party regulars may have pulled off the unheard-of: winning a write-in campaign. Those were the highlights of yesterday's primary in Philadelphia, an election marked by remarkably low voter turnout and complaints of malfunctioning voting machines. Tony Payton Jr., 25, the only qualified Democrat on the ballot in the state House of Representatives' 179th District, was targeted by powerful ward leaders who wanted somebody else.
May 15, 2006 |
Joe Zaber could not believe it. Tomorrow, when he goes to the polls in West Chester to vote in the primary election, he will be handed what looks to him like a piece of paper. "You're back to a paper ballot?" he asked Chester County voter-services director Linda Cummings at a public demonstration of the county's new voting system last week. "Good God, we had that 48 years ago. Progress is wonderful," he said incredulously. It is not quite a traditional paper ballot - it's an optical-scan ballot - but it is supposed to be progress.
April 12, 2006 |
Montgomery County officials are breathing easier today after a successful test of the county's Sequoia voting machines yesterday in Harrisburg. "The machines worked beautifully," said Joe Passarella, the county's director of voter services. He said that the machines recorded votes exactly the way they were entered, and that the votes could not be manipulated "in any way, shape or form. " The tests were conducted by Michael Shamos, a computer scientist and voting machine expert from Carnegie Mellon University who has been hired by Pennsylvania to certify voting equipment.
April 6, 2006 |
Bucks County officials are trying to rent or borrow enough electronic machines that comply with new federal requirements so one can be placed in each of its 303 polling places for the May primary election. Fifty new voting machines are scheduled to be delivered to Bucks County in time for the vote, but that is far short of the number the county needs to comply with federal law, officials say. County chief operating officer David Sanko said yesterday that 50 new Danaher electronic machines will be ready for use by May 16. He said the county also is looking to rent Danaher machines or borrow from other counties that use them.
March 3, 2006 |
A state Supreme Court decision yesterday cleared the way for Pennsylvania counties to replace their aging voting machines to comply with federal law, officials said. But some counties are scrambling to meet the deadline - the May 16 primary - for having new systems in place. The high court reversed a judge's ruling that Westmoreland County officials had to let voters decide in a referendum whether to buy new machines. Though it applied only to that western county, the case was being watched by officials in dozens of counties across the state.
March 1, 2006 |
When they go to their polling places in May, Chester County residents will wrestle with more than choosing candidates. They will also have to figure out what kind of voting machine to use. In addition to the old punch card system, the county commissioners said yesterday that they will add an electronic machine in each precinct to accommodate voters who may have difficulty using the punch cards because of a handicap. With court decisions pending and more litigation threatened, the commissioners said their decision was being driven by the climate of uncertainty surrounding voting systems in Pennsylvania and the conflicting instructions they are receiving from state and federal officials.
March 1, 2006
This May, voters across Pennsylvania should be following those in Philadelphia in making the switch to accurate and speedy ATM-style voting machines. Instead, thousands may have to make do with punch cards, familiar but decades-old lever machines, and even paper ballots in rare instances. Some voters may even have to cast ballots by two separate methods; one for local and state races, another for congressional contests. It's a question of whether election officials will be able to meet a federal mandate to implement more reliable and accessible voting systems.
February 24, 2006 |
The U.S. Department of Justice has waded into Pennsylvania's growing crisis over voting systems, threatening to sue the state if its counties fail to be in compliance with federal law by the May primary election. In addition to the potential lawsuit, Wan J. Kim, assistant U.S. attorney general for civil rights, also warned in a letter to Pennsylvania Attorney General Thomas Corbett dated Feb. 21 that $23 million in federal funds might be at risk. He said he plans to file a complaint in federal court within 10 days.
February 21, 2006 |
The rollout for Delaware County's new electronic voting machines was going along smoothly until an unexpected snag threatened to derail the entire operation. Last week, a Westmoreland County judge ruled that officials in that county could not replace their lever machines with electronic voting systems unless voters approved the move in a referendum. That decision, which has been appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, could have statewide ramifications. As a result, officials in Delaware County - which bought 910 new machines - are scrambling to find enough work space to prepare their old lever machines, now in "dead storage," just in case they have to be tuned up and ready to go for the May 16 primary election.
February 15, 2006 |
JOSEPH STALIN said, "It's not who votes that counts, it's who counts the votes. " Computers are now mandated to do the job under the laws of Pennsylvania by the Help America Vote Act of 2002. Counties that have not filled their orders for new voting machines before May 2006 will lose funding to help with the purchase of new ones. They must order only precinct-based optical scan machines that can prevent fraud and make possible manual recounts without risking connecting a vote to any particular voter.