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A “coding error” was to blame for a voting machine flipping votes in a local election in Pennsylvania earlier this week, a mistake that will likely prompt new criticism of such machines and a call to return to paper ballots.
“A coding error in Northampton County, Pennsylvania’s voting machines, caused a significant issue during a recent election. The glitch resulted in votes being incorrectly flipped on a ballot question concerning the retention of two state judges,” Resist the Mainstream reported.
The malfunction affected votes for candidates running for the Pennsylvania Superior Court, Judges Jack Panella and Victor Stabile, according to The Associated Press. Votes marked “yes” to retain one judge and “no” for the other were switched on printouts from touchscreen ballot machines, County Executive Lamont McClure said, per the AP.
The reports said that the problem was significant, affecting more than 300 voting machines. Voters noticed the glitch after seeing discrepancies on printed records. The AP noted that the Pennsylvania Department of State confirmed that the issue was limited to Northhampton County and didn’t occur in any other races.
“Panella’s votes will be returned to Panella, and Stabile’s will be returned to Stabile,” McClure said, downplaying the severity of the malfunction and referring to it as a “relatively minor glitch.”
“The county has pointed to the voting machine vendor, Election Systems & Software (ES&S), as the source of the error. Katina Granger, a spokesperson for ES&S, attributed the mistake to human error and emphasized that it was an isolated incident, affecting only the judicial retention question in Northampton County,” Resist The Mainstream added.
In September, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on an emergency request from two GOP election officials in Pennsylvania regarding sanctions linked to an argument over voting equipment and the 2020 election.
The nation’s highest court on Tuesday refused to block sanctions that state officials imposed after the two Fulton County Commissioners — Stuart Ulsh and Randy Bunch — granted access to Dominion Voting Systems machines following the election to third-party groups for the purpose of examining them without the full authorization of the commission, claiming they did so in order to determine whether to continue using the machines.
CNN reported: “Multiple outside firms were ultimately given unauthorized access to voting systems in Fulton County after the 2020 election without authorization from the Board of Elections, according to court filings in the special master probe. The third county commissioner only learned that an outside firm had been allowed to inspect the election equipment until after it was done, court filings show.”
“One of the cyber forensics firms that examined and copied components of Fulton County’s Dominion voting system – Wake TSI – was hired by Defending the Republic, a non-profit founded by former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, according to an invoice from December 2020. Powell has not responded to CNN’s request for comment. None of the third-party groups granted access to the voting systems in Fulton County were contracted by the county itself or had the proper accreditation to carry out such an inspection, according to court records,” CNN added.
In July 2021, after discovering the inspection, the secretary of the commonwealth ruled that the examination had compromised the equipment’s integrity by eroding the chain of custody protocols and access restrictions that are crucial to preventing tampering.
Afterward, the commission and its attorneys launched the current legal proceedings, CNN noted further.
In the course of the proceedings, the state secretary became aware of Fulton County’s plans to permit Envoy Sage LLC to conduct an inspection of the equipment. In response, the secretary successfully sought and obtained a protective order from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to prevent such an inspection. In January 2022, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court officially issued the protective order, CNN added.