PA Senate State Government Committee

Three programming and cyber experts testified about the vulnerabilities of the state’s voting machines and processes before the PA Senate State Government Committee chaired by Sen. Cris Dush on Monday, March 18. 

The entire hearing can be seen here, but the top line is that Republicans and Democrats on the committee understand and agreed that many of our voting systems are at risk of cyber attacks. 

Dr. Andrew Appel, professor of computer science at Princeton University, with 20 years of experience in the security of voting machinesrecommended hand marked paper ballots as the state of the art and most reliable voting method with touch screen machines to be used only by the handicapped;urged replacement by the 14 counties which use touchscreen ballot marking devices for all in person voters, saying that it “is a disaster waiting to happen;”barcodes on touch screen ballots are what’s read by the machines, so voters have no way of knowing if the barcodes indicate their actual choicesUnfortunately, many courts are not allowing those recounts to happen!

Additionally, Dr. Alec Yesinsac, retired USMC computer scientist with 20 years experience in working, designing and certifying voting systems for the military and for precincts, spoke on ballot collection. He also urged precinct based hand marked paper ballots which prevents undetectable wholesale fraud. He indicated that when using vote by mail it is impossible to maintain chain of custody for voted and blank vote by mail ballots. 

Used in Chester County

Please watch the 5 minute testimony of Rick Weible. Although some of it is technical, you will quickly understand why the ES&S Voting System, which is used in Chester County and many other counties in PA, is vulnerable to hacking and manipulation of vote tabulations.

Rick Weible presents new evidence of ES&S vulnerabilities at March 19, 2024 Brookings County South Dakota Commissioner Meeting.

Bottom line…

There is clear evidence that many of the voting systems and methods employed by the counties in Pennsylvania are ripe with vulnerabilities. We must demand transparency from our local Boards of Election in the steps they are taking to secure our elections from these threats. We must not be appeased that municipalities engage the help of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) from Homeland Security, since that agency itself was recently hacked! How can they help us if they can’t help themselves? 

Go to your local Board of Elections meeting and ask the tough questions. Then, encourage them and your state representatives to take action to secure our elections!