I want to take a quick moment and thank Greg Rothman for stepping up and saying he is going to present a bill to allow cell phones and recording devices in voting booths and adding a paper trail as a supplement to the electronic vote.

The reality is, “calibration” issues are a flat out lie. Most of the voting machines in Pennsylvania are simply glorified desktop computers with touch screens that have a database on them that records the votes to a card with a chip that works in the same fashion as the chips in newer credit and debit cards.

The only technical conclusion as to how votes can be switched is if the program itself was changed. This does not happen by the machines “shaking” during transport. Now some models in The Commonwealth have hard drives on them and it is plausible they can malfunction if not handled with proper care during transport and I have seen cases in my career where that has happened mainly because some areas the roads are that horrible and it is unavoidable to transport these units with a smooth ride. Even in those cases, starting up those machines would consist of system errors during the boot process and they would be nowhere near functional to the point of use.

As for the touch screens themselves, it is possible that they can cause errors and mistaken votes, but that would not explain where the vote is selected and then reviewing the summary before confirming your vote. These screens are also tested before election day and if there is a bad screen it almost always involves not sensing any touch and are swapped out. The Commonwealth has a plethora of these screens for this reason.

The first role in I.T. is that you always have a backup plan and a disaster recovery plan. When it comes to elections in Pennsylvania, there is no backup plan, nor is there a disaster recovery plan pertaining to these machines. At the very least when a vote is cast, two copies of a receipt should be printed on a special watermark paper that changes every election. One copy the voter keeps for themselves and the other copy stays on file in case a recount is necessary and ensures the electronic votes match the paper trail.

We should also be looking into fingerprint technology instead of using ID and if the system detects duplicate prints among voters, fraud can easily be dealt with.

My company looks forward to sharing and fact finding these issues with Greg Rothman and anyone else who is seriously interested in ensuring our elections are certified with transparency and credibility.

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