Pennsylvania voters are expressing doubt in the integrity of local elections in the swing county of Northampton after issues with touchscreen voting devices arose on November 7. The glitches were similar to those seen in the county’s 2019 judges' race involving the same machines.
According to a report by Politico, Northampton County used touchscreen machines provided by Election Systems & Software (ES&S) for the first time in 2019, and a “programming glitch” resulted in a significant “undercount” of votes in a local judges' race. The incident was attributed to human error, and voters were assured that their printouts, used to confirm their votes, were accurate.
However, on November 7, 2023, Northampton voters discovered that their printouts did not match their selections for two down-ballot judges races, raising questions about the accuracy of the voting machines. The discrepancy caused suspicion and concern among voters, with many sharing their frustration on social media.
Voting Machine Glitch Hits Election Day 2023
Election Day 2023: Officials Say Voting Machine Glitch Is Changing Some Votes:https://t.co/LkCx1nAxHT#ElectionIntegrity, #Election, #VoterFraud, #ElectionDay2023, #PA, #Pennsylvania, #Politics, #Technology, #USNews, #Voting
— Exposing Lies (@Exposing_Deceit) November 7, 2023
Glenn Geissinger, the Northampton County Republican Committee chair, expressed his disbelief, stating, “Every. Single. Northampton County voter should sue the county for this travesty.” He added, “This is disgusting, and these machines cannot be used for another election.”
County officials are also struggling to regain the trust of voters. According to Politico, Northampton County Democratic Party chair Matthew Munsey called for a full investigation and report to provide transparency for the public. He stated, “I don’t know how we can restore trust with these machines.”
The glitch has also raised concerns among state voting rights groups who are demanding an explanation from county officials. In a joint statement, six state voting rights groups called for a “full investigation” into the programming error and transparency for the public.
ES&S and Northampton officials have acknowledged that the incident was caused by a programming error during joint pre-election software testing. However, they claimed that the error only affected the paper cards and not the actual votes recorded on the machines. While ES&S assured voters that their selections were accurately captured, many are still questioning the machine's reliability.
County Executive Lamont McClure emphasized that the error was not a machine malfunction but instead, the result of human error. However, he still requested that ES&S fire the employee responsible for the mistake to prevent a similar incident in the 2024 election.
Pennsylvania Secretary of State Al Schmidt has stated that an incident like this could be used to undermine confidence in the electoral process. Still, he assured voters that evidence suggests the touchscreen machines are reliable and accurate.
In conclusion, the glitch in the Northampton County touchscreen voting machines has raised concerns among voters and local leaders, leading to a loss of trust in the electoral process. While officials and ES&S have acknowledged the programming error and taken steps to address it, restoring confidence in the voting system will be a challenging task. As the state continues to investigate the incident, it is imperative that steps are taken to ensure the integrity of future elections in Northampton County.