Let NY Vote, Electeds, Nat’l Voting Rights Groups, Demand NYSBOE Stop Certification of Flawed Voting Machines

On July 31st, days before the New York State Board of Elections (NYSBOE) is set to certify the ExpressVote XL, Let NY Vote coalition and national groups wrote two letters to the NYSBOE demanding they reject the certification of the touch screen voting machine that would allow voters to mark their ballot electronically instead of on the traditional voter-marked paper ballots. The NYSBOE is expected to hear public comments on the machine on Wednesday and then vote to either certify or reject them after.

Read the letters here.

Cyber security election experts almost universally pan the touch screen technology, so much so that most states have switched back to voter-marked paper ballots. The ExpressVote XL, which uses Windows 10, is also about to become even less secure as Microsoft will end software updates in two years.

“The New York State Board of Elections must reject the certification of the insecure voting machine, ExpressVote XL. Paper ballots marked by the voter — which New York currently uses — is the election security gold standard. We should not be spending taxpayer dollars on anything else. Next, lawmakers must pass legislation that bans hybrid machines like the ExpressVote XL for good,” said Sarah Goff, Deputy Director of Common Cause/NY.

“The Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College has long supported paper ballots in New York as part of our fight to make voting more accessible, particularly for vulnerable and marginalized communities in the state,” said Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq., Executive Director at the racial justice law center. “Election experts consider this system the gold standard in election security. This method is highly recommended by security and auditing experts, is cost-effective, and reduces wait times. Right now, New York elections are at a critical juncture with the advent of all-in-one and universal-use voting machines, threatening its traditional pen-and-paper voting system. New York is poised to approve Ballot Marking Devices like ExpressVote XL, potentially presenting security risks, unnecessary expenses, and extended waiting times for voters. We urge the New York State Board of Elections to refuse the certification of ExpressVote XL and prioritize maintaining the ‘gold standard’ of election security for New York voters.”

Senator Cleare and Assembly Member Cunningham both sponsor a bill – the Voting Integrity and Voter Verification (VIVA) – in their respective houses that would guarantee the use of voter verifiable paper ballots in elections. VIVA passed in the Senate, but not the Assembly this term. VIVA would have prevented New York from certifying machines like the ExpressVote XL.

“I was so proud to pass VIVA-NY in the Senate this year because individual, voter-verifiable paper ballots that allow voters to cast their votes privately and independently are the tried and true way to secure our democracy. In an era where technology like Chat GPT, Artificial Intelligence and Supercomputers are the norm, it is more important than ever that the processes we use to vote have integrity and are not corruptible. VIVA-NY will ensure that individual votes are not only counted, but counted accurately, in accordance with the actual preference of the voter; that makes VIVA-NY the Gold Standard. I encourage the NYS BOE not to take a step backward and certify the faulty ExpressVote XL. I encourage the NYS BOE to refrain from approving any machine that does not meet the VIVA-NY Standard,” said Senator Cordell Cleare.

“New York State has laws and requirements in place to ensure voting system security and they must be adhered to. The ES&S ExpressVote XL fails on multiple fronts to meet NY’s standards and therefore it should not be certified. Waiving New York State requirements based on the deeply flawed presumption that bad actors cannot and will not be able to gain access to the voting system is recklessly naive and ignores several real world incidents of bad actors accessing voting equipment. Over the past few years there have been multiple cases of allies of Donald Trump – who are intent on disrupting elections – improperly and unlawfully accessing voting systems. We cannot ignore the threat this presents. New York should maintain its high standards and not certify the ExpressVote XL,” said Susan Greenhalgh, Senior Advisor on Election Security for Free Speech For People.

Common Cause/NY released a report in 2020 called “The ExpressVote XL: Bad for New York’s Elections.” Common Cause argues New York should not purchase the ExpressVote XL because it is:

  • Vulnerable to cyber attacks and hardware malfunctions
    • ExpressVote XL machines do not use a secure paper trail, making results easier to hack. According to a recent study, only 40% of voters reviewed their ballot for accuracy after submission and only about 7% informed a poll worker if something was wrong. The study concludes that a hacker could easily change the results of 1% or 2% of votes without anyone noticing.
    • The 14 states that use ballot-marking devices have begun to phase them out.
    • Touchscreens malfunction and can cause long lines for voters. For example, in Pennsylvania, roughly 30% of the machines allowed voters to select only some candidates’ names, and not others.
  • Prone to undercounting votes
    • In a race in Pennsylvania, a candidate was recorded as having 164 votes on election night, but after a manual recount the same candidate had over 26,000 votes, winning the race.
  • Expensive
    • The ExpressVote XL costs roughly $10,000 per unit. This is far more expensive than other voting machines. Additionally, it will cost more money to store and transport the machines.