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Tag: Voting Machines (page 1 of 3)

The Legal Necessity of Machines for Voting by Mail

By Anthony Scarpiniti

In the age of Covid-19, social distancing, and staying at home, the “norms” of society are no longer normal. Because of the recent November election, many states adjusted or expanded their absentee and mail-in voting procedures. According to a Pew Research Center survey, approximately two-thirds of Americans support the ability to vote absentee or early without a specific reason. Even President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump requested mail-in ballots for the Florida Republican primary election in August.

While many Americans support absentee and mail-in voting in theory, in order for them to work in practice, the United States Postal Service (USPS) had to be prepared for the large influx of ballots. During the 2019 holiday season, the USPS sorted and delivered approximately “2.5 billion pieces of First-Class Mail,” and this was just in one week. This breaks down to about 500 million letters per day. The Census Bureau estimated that the voting age population in the United States was about 245.5 million citizens in 2016, and only about 157.6 million of them were registered to vote. Between the holiday season and a hypothetical election held completely via the mail, it is a fair assumption that the USPS is much busier during the holiday season.

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Counties in North Carolina Gamble on New Voting Machines

By: Margaret Lowry

Super Tuesday is tomorrow and voters in North Carolina might use new voting machines. Since the 2018 election, several counties in North Carolina have had to make a critical decision for their voters–what voting machines should they purchase? A shortened timetable and heightened concern about election security have made for a contentious process.

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Voter’s Choice: The New Way to Vote

By : Elizabeth Harte

As the nation works to achieve a balance between election security and access to voting, California is rolling out a new system designed to “modernize elections.” Entitled “California’s Voter’s Choice Act,” the act was passed in 2016 and will become available for all counties to adopt in 2020. This extraordinary plan moves voting into the twenty-first century and does away with traditional, assigned voting places. In their stead, Californian counties that opt into the act will implement “vote centers.” These centers will serve as an all-purpose stop for Californians to ensure their voices are heard. For example, instead of the typical assignment to one polling place in their county, a Los Angeles County resident will be able to visit any center in their county most convenient to them and can do so up to ten days before the election. At a center, the said Angeleno can: “vote in person; drop off their ballot; get a replacement ballot; vote using an accessible voting machine; get help and voting material in multiple languages; [and] register to vote or update their voter registration.”

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Rage Against the (Voting) Machines: Pennsylvania’s Ongoing Battle for Secure Ballots

By: Kira Simon

“Green Party’s Jill Stein threatens legal challenge to Philly’s new, $29M voting machines.” At first glance, this may sound like a headline from the 2016 election. In fact, it’s a headline from October 2, 2019. Readers of this blog likely remember that Stein settled a lawsuit with Pennsylvania stemming from a state recount of the 2016 election. Why this is still in the news? Let’s run through Pennsylvania’s recent history of voting machine troubles. Continue reading

A Safe Place for Elections

By: Matthew Catron

Colorado is known for more than just picturesque mountain views and crystal-clear rivers. The Centennial State touts some of the best education, healthcare, and the best state economy in the nation. To add to this impressive list of achievements, Colorado has been christened as the safest state in the nation to host an election.

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TX – Fossils Running Amok: Subversion of Democracy by Old Election Machines and Travis County’s Unique Solution

By: Katie Teeters

In September of 2015, the Brennan Center for Justice published a report based on ten months of research, which looked at problems arising from aging voting machines. First, the report found that a majority of election districts in forty-three states are using ten-year old machines. There are fourteen states with machines fifteen-years or older. Considering the rapid pace of technology in the past fifteen years, these election machines are truly relics of the past. To illustrate how ancient these machines are; in 2000 Wikipedia nor iTunes existed. Many of the voting machines have minimal memory, such as in Allen County where the machine’s memory cards can contain only 250 megabytes of data. Samsung’s new basic Galaxy S6 smartphone can hold up to 32 gigabytes of data, which is approximately 128 times more memory than those machines.

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KS: Lack of Election Post-Audit Leaves Uncertainty in the Sunflower State

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Does anyone really watch the watchman? In Kansas, the state’s lack of an election post-audit is raising some questions, and a university professor wants to run the numbers on electronic voting machines in and around the state’s largest city.

Like other states across the Union, Kansas began using electronic voting machines following the presidential election of 2000 and the infamous “hanging chad” debacle in Florida. While many Kansas counties use optical scan paper ballots, the two most populous counties in the state, Sedgwick County (home of the state’s largest city, Wichita) and Johnson County (home of some of the most affluent Kansas City suburbs) use electronic voting machines. And while the machines in Sedgwick County print an extensive paper receipt, the machines used in Johnson County do not leave a paper trail.

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Vote-Flipping in Maryland: The Consequence of Voting with Dinosaurs

By Caitlin Whalan

The gubernatorial race in Maryland, the notoriously blue state, was tighter than anticipated. Larry Hogan, the Republican nominee, narrowly beat out the Democratic candidate, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown. Now that the dust is beginning to settle from the shocking upset, a new issue is creeping into the forefront: faulty voting machines. Continue reading

Virginia’s Faulty Voting Machines in the 2014 Midterm Elections

By Jonathan Gonzalez

The 2014 midterm elections on November 4th culminated in major victories for the Republican Party, which succeeded in wresting control of the United States Senate from the Democrats by slim margins. Among the Republican Party Senate hopefuls, Ed Gillespie made waves in Virginia on election night, and came within a percentage point of ousting popular Democratic incumbent, Mark Warner. Warner, a former governor of Virginia, came about 16,000 votes shy of suffering a major upset. Continue reading

Weekly Wrap Up


Supreme Court throws out voting machine judgment: The Supreme Court decided this week to throw out a suit against Dallas County over its use of iVotronic voting machines. The Democratic Party sued the county claiming that the confusing straight-party feature of the machines was not approved by the Justice Department. The Supreme Court considered the charge moot since the Justice Department has since approved the use of the machines.


Getting rid of the “winner-take-all” electoral system: Pennsylvania Republican Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi is looking to drop the winner-take-all method and adopt a split system for electoral voting. In the new system an electoral vote would be given to the winner of each of Pennsylvania’s 19 congressional districts with the remaining Senate votes given to the winner of the popular vote. Many PA Republicans, who lost the 2008 electoral vote, argue that a split system more accurately reflects the diversity of voters. Others have criticized the proposition stating that candidates will lose interest in the large battleground state if the vote is split.


South Carolina GOP to cover Primary Election Costs: The Republican Party in South Carolina has agreed to pay all additional costs of the primary election there. This comes after many in the state had expressed concern about covering the costs of the 2012 Republican presidential primary. Nevertheless, several counties have authorized their attorneys to use legal means to protect county interests and coffers. The Republican Party will cover “legitimate costs” over and above what the state Election Commission will reimburse counties for conducting their elections. The Democratic Party does not currently plan to conduct a primary election in South Carolina.

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