November 05, 2019
Philadelphia voters are getting their first experiences with the city's new electronic voting machines chosen earlier this year in accordance with a state mandate.
The ExpressVote XL machines, manufactured by Election Systems & Software, were picked in a controversial bidding process that was geared toward getting the new system tested before the 2020 presidential election.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf issued a directive in February 2018 requiring all counties procure new voting machines that include a voter-verifiable paper ballot or paper record of votes cast. The mandate was intended to address security concerns about Russian interference in 2016 election. Wolf later approved $90 million in funding to help counties pay for new machines.
Philadelphia became the first county in the state on Tuesday to debut its new machines, which involve placing a paper ballot into the machine prior to casting votes. The paper ballot records votes in plain text for voters to review along with a bar code printed at the top for votes to be counted.
The city released a video tutorial showing how to use the machines in advance of Tuesday's election.
One upshot of the new wheel-transported machines is that at least 20 polling locations had to be changed, in part to make sure all stations were wheelchair accessible.
Voters took to social media on Tuesday to share their experiences with the ExpressVote XL machines. The reviews have been mixed.
Just voted with the new voting machines in Philly, if you click too far on the right in the box you want to select it literally selects the box to the right instead...it's not calibrated correctly @PhillyVotes @PhiladelphiaGov— Joe Shearn (@JoeShearn) November 5, 2019
The new voting machines in Philly are pretty neat! They give you a piece of paper you feed into the machine, and after you select your votes electronically, it prints the selections behind a clear window so you can review the printout before your vote is recorded.— Rachel Ewing (@raewing) November 5, 2019
If there is paper in the voting machine when you walk in THAT IS SOMEONE ELSE’S BALLOT.— Mac in Philly (@McElaney) November 5, 2019
This is because whoever created the new PA voting machines are criminally bad at design.
Flag it for the election judge.
New voting machines made for a cluster f*** in Philly. I am already dreading them lines for next year’s Presidential election. #ivoted🇺🇸 #philadelphia @ The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts https://t.co/wMafJm6juJ— Leonard Armstrong (@lta100163) November 5, 2019
Dang this is the first time I’ve ever seen a line to vote in Philly. I’d like to believe it’s civic engagement but it’s probably the new voting machines— Karen McGrane (@karenmcgrane) November 5, 2019
Philly friends: lots of problems getting the new voting machines up and running this am. Budget extra time to vote!— Katy Otto (@exfkaty) November 5, 2019
Protect Our Vote Philly, a coalition opposed to the new electronic machines, is asking voters to fill out a questionnaire about their experience with the ExpressVote XL machines.