We decided to let the dust settle for a few days before commenting on the voting machine shenanigans that happened in the Pennsylvania elections on Tuesday. It was about what you’d expect. Voters became alarmed in one county when the machines tallied some of their votes the opposite of the way that people had voted.
It happened on a pair of judicial retention questions in a single county, but the same voting machines were in use in multiple counties. Once again, this exposes the insanity of using machines for voting instead of paper ballots only in our elections.
Northampton County in Pennsylvania is a “purple” county on the eastern side of the state, right on the border with New York. Joe Biden “won” Northampton County by a razor-thin 1,233 votes in 2020. During Tuesday’s elections, approximately 300 voting machines in that county were “flipping” the votes on two Superior Court judicial questions.
Judge Jack Panella, a Democrat, and Judge Victor Stabile, a Republican, were up for retention votes. Their 10-year terms on the court are set to expire this year, so voters were asked whether each one should be retained. Naturally, some Democrats voted not to retain Stabile, and some Republicans voted not to retain Panella. But the votes were flipped.
Everything looked fine on the machine, but when people voted “Yes” for Panella and “No” for Stabile, the printout would say the opposite. When someone voted “Yes” for Stabile and “No” for “Panella,” the same thing happened.
One of the good things that has changed in Pennsylvania since the 2020 election was that the group Protect Our Vote Philly finally won a settlement in an ongoing court battle over voting machines. Due to that settlement, which just happened in August, election officials are now required to immediately report problems with the voting machines to the public.
Machine voting was temporarily shut down on Tuesday. After they discovered it was just the two judicial retention ballot questions that were flipping votes, the county got a court order to continue using the machines.
The county was also required to tell every voter about the problem from that point on, throughout the day.
So… what happened?
The 300 machines in the county that were impacted by the vote-flipping were made by ES&S, one of the two companies that was under suspicion after the 2020 election (the other being Dominion Voting Systems).
Northampton County Director of Administration Charles Dertinger offered this excuse for what happened:
“What you read and what the computer reads are two different things. The computer does not read the text that is printed out.”
Uh… is that really the excuse that you want to go with?
That’s the most absurd, childishly transparent excuse that anyone has ever made for anything. Why on earth would the software engineers that created the code to operate the ES&S voting machines, create two different pieces of software to carry out one task? Talk to an engineer in any field and ask them if that makes sense?
You’re telling us that the software engineers wrote one piece of code for recording votes on the paper printout, but then wrote a separate piece of code—which “does not read the text that is printed out”—to count the votes separately from what the first piece of code did? That’s literally the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.
In related news, your 4-year-old with chocolate smeared all over his face says in his most reassuring voice that he didn’t eat all the cookies.
A senior vice president for ES&S, Linda Bennett, made the situation even worse. As she explained it, “It was a human error, based on someone from our team that programmed the election.”
Someone from your team “programmed the election?”
Did she just say the quiet part out loud?
If Bennett was accidentally telling the truth, then is anything about elections that use voting machines real? If you “programmed the election” that pretty much means that you programmed the outcome, so it makes absolutely no difference how anyone voted.
The only non-violent option that we have left in this situation is to start winning elections and then after we take power, we have to start abolishing these machines completely. They never work. They experience failures in every election. No one in the Republican or Democrat Party trusts them. It’s time for a congressional ban on voting machines.