In Northampton County, Pennsylvania, voters are expressing doubts about the integrity of local elections due to issues with touchscreen voting devices. These concerns are not new, as similar problems were reported during the county’s 2019 judges race. The recent Election Day saw discrepancies where voters’ printouts did not match their selections for two judges races.
This situation has escalated worries among both voters and local leaders. In 2019, a “programming glitch” in the touchscreen machines, which were being used for the first time, led to an undercount of votes. In the latest incident, voters were alarmed to find that the printed cards from the machines did not reflect their actual votes.
Social media users in Pennsylvania, particularly in Northampton County, are expressing their frustration and demanding action. The county’s Republican Committee chair, Glenn Geissinger, echoed these concerns, highlighting the conflicting messages given to voters about trusting the printouts over the touchscreens.
Northampton County officials and Election Systems & Software (ES&S), the providers of the touchscreen machines, acknowledged that pre-election software testing should have identified the problem. ES&S expressed regret for the issues on Election Day, ensuring that the actual voter selections were being captured, despite the printout errors.
County Executive Lamont McClure emphasized that the glitch was due to human error and not a machine fault. He has reportedly requested ES&S to terminate the employee responsible for the error to prevent similar issues in future elections.
The mistrust is widespread, with even local Democrat leaders questioning the reliability of the machines. Six state voting rights groups have called for a full investigation and transparency in response to these voting machine errors.
Pennsylvania Secretary of State Al Schmidt acknowledged the potential for such incidents to undermine confidence in the electoral process. While the state is investigating the Election Day glitch, Schmidt suggested that the issues in Northampton should not be generalized as a reason to distrust touchscreen voting devices. However, the situation has undoubtedly raised significant concerns about election integrity among voters in the county.