You may be voting on a brand new type of voting machine soon – if your county decides to buy them.
On Wednesday, after a lengthy and somewhat contentious meeting, the New York State Board of Elections voted to certify the ExpressVote XL Universal Voting System.
It’s a touch-screen system that will display the entire ballot on a 32-inch screen. One of its selling points is that the system eliminates the need for interpretation of a voter’s intent, which we have seen frequently in New York.
But the new technology has several critics. Cybersecurity election experts have panned the touch-screen technology, and some states that had switched to touch screen, have now switched back to voter-marked paper ballots.
Additionally, Susan Lerner, executive director of the good-government group Common Cause, told Capital Tonight that New York already has the best kind of voting machines there are: voter marked paper ballots read by scanners.
Common Cause is also concerned that the ExpressVote XL uses Windows 10, which may become less secure as Microsoft is planning to end software updates for the operating system in two years time.
“Number one, (ExpressVote XL) is very expensive. It’s going to cause a real increase in the lines and the time that people would have to take to vote. It’s insecure. The voter can’t really check and control their own vote. You’re at the mercy of the machine,” she said.
But according to Jennifer Wilson, the deputy director of public information for the New York State Board of Elections, the ExpressVote XL does allow voters to review their selections and verify that their votes were recorded accurately before submitting their ballots.
“Yes, there is a paper ballot," she said. "The voter’s choices are printed on the paper record by the machine and the voter can then either review their choices behind a clear screen before having it scan and tabulate their ballot, or they can have the machine eject their ballot to them for closer review, or to have that ballot scanned by another device.”
The BOE’s certification also came with two amendments.
From BOE: “…the first ES&S (Election Systems & Software) amendment seeks to have vendors continue to address issues identified in the testing process in future submissions. Although all issues discussed in the testing documentation have been addressed to the satisfaction of the State Board and its testing partners, it is the goal of the Board to ensure the long-term improvement of voting systems in New York State.
The second amendment is restating an existing fact that there is currently no system approved for auditing summary cards, requiring that all ExpressVote XL summary cards be audited by hand.”