Pennsylvania voters are questioning the reliability of local elections in the swing county of Northampton following problems with touchscreen voting devices during the latest Election Day.
The malfunctions resembled those observed in the county’s 2019 judges race.
Election officials are scrambling to bolster confidence in the voting system, as both voters and local leaders are sounding the alarm, as reported by Politico on Saturday.
In 2019, Northampton introduced touchscreen machines from Election Systems & Software for the first time, experiencing a “programming glitch” that resulted in a significant “undercount” of votes in the local judge’s race, as reported by the publication. Then, on November 7, 2023, suspicion heightened when voters found that the printouts meant to confirm their votes on the devices did not align with their choices for two down-ballot judges races.
“In 2019, when the issues came up with the touchscreens, we were told, ‘Don’t worry about it. The cards are recording the votes,'” Northampton County Republican Committee chair Glenn Geissinger told the outlet, referring to the previous glitch incident when voters were told to trust the printouts over the touchscreens.
“OK, you’re telling me now, in 2023, ‘Don’t worry about what’s printed on the card’?”
As per a county executive, voters currently have the highest level of distrust in the voting system.
“We’re at the peak of mistrust of one another, but until that subsides, counties like ours need to be nearly perfect, and I think this system allows us to do that,” Lamont McClure told the outlet before the vote was certified on Tuesday, arguing that the glitch resulted from human error.
Even local Democrat leaders are expressing mistrust in the machines, with Northampton County Democratic Party chair Matthew Munsey stating, “Since 2019, the theory has been well, that was a big mistake, but we caught it and we’ve implemented new processes to make sure nothing like that would ever happen again.”
“I don’t know how we can restore trust with these machines,” he added.
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