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Pennsylvania to Dump Paperless Voting Machines, Agrees to Election Audits

Created: 29 November, 2018
Updated: 17 October, 2022
2 min read

HARRISBURG, PENN. - Dr. Jill Stein won a major legal victory in Pennsylvania as state officials agreed to a settlement in her post-2016 election lawsuit. Gov. Tom Wolf's administration guaranteed voting machines with verifiable paper trails, and agreed to an automatic, robust audit in 2022.

"This is a critical victory for everyone concerned with the integrity of our elections. We congratulate the state of Pennsylvania for raising the bar not only for Pennsylvanians, but for voters everywhere," declared Stein.

"By agreeing to end the use of paperless voting machines, Pennsylvania is not only safeguarding its citizens' right to vote. By example, the agreement is also a big step towards the retirement of paperless voting machines that one in four voters across the nation are still required to use, despite their demonstrated vulnerability to hacking, tampering, and error. Automatic robust audits provide an essential safeguard by cross-checking paper ballots against machine totals using hand counts and the human eye to make sure every election is verified before the results are official. These two reforms are a first step to restoring confidence in our broken elections."

Dr. Stein filed the lawsuit in 2016 as she sought recounts in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin -- the three states that decided the election for President Donald Trump. The recounts raised concerns of several ballots that were missing or uncounted, but didn't change the election results.

Pennsylvania's process in particular was a bureaucratic nightmare for those who wanted to see a recount. The state's rules required at least three voters in each of over 9,000 precincts to file notarized requests by what those seeking a recount say were undefined deadlines at unknown locations.

Gov. Wolf, according to reports, started to push counties to dump paperless voting machines months before the settlement, as a way to prevent hacking. Approximately 80% of state voters use machines that lack a paper trail.

The governor emphasized his commitment to secure and transparent elections in the settlement "so that every Pennsylvania voter in 2020 uses a voter-verifiable paper ballot."

"With this settlement, Pennsylvania will go from an election integrity backwater to a national leader," said Ilann M. Maazel, of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, counsel for the plaintiffs. "We will be watching closely to ensure Pennsylvania implements every one of these important election reforms."

Stein is still in court in Wisconsin. Her campaign has established the right to examine voting machines for possible tampering, but are fighting a gag order from the voting machine manufacturers not to discuss any of the findings.