Monday, January 08, 2007

State Official Wants To Eliminate Electronic Voting Machines

POSTED: 5:18 pm EST December 21, 2006
UPDATED: 5:36 pm EST December 21, 2006

WESTMORELAND COUNTY, Pa. -- A Westmoreland County Democrat said he wants to get rid of electronic voting machines.

State Rep. James Casorio Jr. said he is going to ask Congress to permit Pennsylvania to return to the old-style lever voting machines, reported WTAE Channel 4 Action News...

Oddest of situations Absentee paper ballots cause of many challenges

Chester County recount

Once again, Pa. House goes DemocratBy Natalie Pompilio and Mari A. Schaefer
Inquirer Staff Writers

For the second time in three weeks, the Democrats claimed control of the state House - saying Democrat Barbara McIlvaine Smith increased her narrow lead by four votes after a recount yesterday in Chester County.

If certified, the apparent 27-vote victory would give the Democrats a 102-101 advantage in the state House of Representatives, reversing 12 years of Republican rule.

Carrie Budoff Chester County recount

Royer leading in Chesco recountThe endgame for control of the state House is nearing. Almost half of the ballots were hand-counted yesterday.
By Natalie Pompilio Inquirer Staff Writer

You be the judge: Contested ballots in the 156th District
Click here to view copies of the ballots - which are in the order as presented below - and you be the judge...

Astonishing. Democrats wanted the machine recount, Republicans wanted the hand/manual recount.

Vote recount by hand begins in ChescoDemocrats, who said they feared delay, were rebuffed in an appeal for a machine recount. But a judge did set a deadline - Dec. 26. By Natalie Pompilio Inquirer Staff Writer

Despite a last-minute attempt to stop it, the manual recount of more than 23,000 votes cast in a critical Chester County statehouse race begins this morning.

With control of the state House of Representatives at stake, Democrats yesterday filed an appeal in Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court to stop the hand retallying.

The Democrats sought a machine-driven recount, arguing the manual recount could drag out and leave the West Chester area without a state representative when the legislature reconvenes Jan. 2. That would deny voters a voice in determining the next Speaker of the House, they said.

But the appeal was quickly quashed in an order signed by President Judge James Gardner Colins, who addressed the Democrats' concerns by ordering the Department of Voter Services to conduct and complete a hand recount no later than 5 p.m. Dec. 26.

Earlier this week, the head of Voter Services, Linda Cummings, estimated that a machine recount would take at least six days - which Democrats disputed - and that a hand recount would require seven to 10.

Only 23 votes separate Democratic frontrunner Barbara McIlvaine Smith from Republican Shannon Royer, a difference of one-tenth of 1 percent. Whichever candidate wins the 156th district seat will give his or her party a 102-101 edge in the House...

Judge orders hand recount in House race
By The Associated Press
Saturday, December 16, 2006

HARRISBURG - A judge Friday granted a request by Republicans for a hand recount of 23,000 ballots in a close legislative election that will determine whether Democrats will reclaim the majority in the state House of Representatives after 12 years.
Chester County Judge Howard F. Riley Jr. said the recount of the 156th District election, in which Democrat Barbara McIlvaine Smith edged out Republican Shannon Royer by 23 votes, would begin on Tuesday and continue "each day thereafter."

The Democrats had sought a machine recount and wanted the ballots to be run through a different model of optical scanning machine than the type that was used in the Nov. 7 general election — a process they said could be completed in just three days.

But the Republicans have said they are concerned about evidence that some ballots may not have been properly scanned, and proposed a hand count that they estimate will take about two weeks.

Democratic lawyer Clifford B. Levine said Friday he was "disappointed" with the order and was reviewing it to determine whether he would appeal to Commonwealth Court on Monday.

Levine said state election law requires ballots tallied by electronic voting systems to be recounted electronically, and that the Republicans were unnecessarily prolonging the process. The House will meet Jan. 2 to swear in new members and elect a speaker.

"They're going to try to delay this election and prevent us from getting a true recount until weeks or even a month away, so that when the House of Representatives meets they will deprive the voters of the 156th District the opportunity to participate in the selection of the speaker," Levine said...

Voters complain of machine glitches
Up to 12 counties affected; GOP seeks probe
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Of The Patriot-News
The Republican State Committee is asking the state to investigate reports of voting machine malfunctions yesterday.

As many as 12 counties -- Cumberland, Lebanon and Lancaster among them -- reported problems, according to a letter GOP counsel Lawrence Tabas wrote to Pennsylvania Secretary of State Pedro Cortes. Some people reported that machines were changing Republican votes to Democratic, Tabas said.

However, state election officials said late yesterday they had received no reports from counties of any such malfunctions...

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