Thank you for visiting VoteAllegheny's website.

VoteAllegheny is a group of volunteers committed to ensuring that the citizens of the County of Allegheny, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, may participate in safe, reliable, accessible, recountable, voter-verifiable elections. Based on years of collective research, we offer ourselves as a citizens' advisory resource for documented information concerning voting machines and systems, dissemination of knowledge and presentation of seminars on voting and voting systems. We actively seek to forestall any chance of voting fraud or disenfranchisement, and work toward fair and free elections for all.



The Latest News

The Blue Ribbon Commission on Pennsylvania's Election Security has released Interim Recommendations on Voting Systems. The Commission's related press release is here.


Pennsylvania State Senate held a hearing on September 25, 2018, on Senate Bill 1249, an Act amending the act of June 3, 1937 (P.L.1333, No.320), known as the Pennsylvania Election Code, providing for the Pennsylvania Election Law Advisory Board. VoteAllegheny submitted testimony, and will watch for results of the hearing.


U.S. Senators Wyden, Gillibrand, Markey, Merkley, Murray, and Warren introduce a bill to secure elections.


Be sure to look at our External Links pages, by clicking to the left, or going to External Links, where we post a chronological listing of news items and other documentation of interest.





Videos

Be sure to look at our new videos page, featuring a series of videos, Trustworthy Elections Today, produced by Ron Bandes.

Trustworthy Elections Today examines issues of Election Integrity: ensuring that all votes are counted as cast, and that the will of the people is properly determined.

Please click on the video to play it, or on the link within the title to show in a new page.




We need voting systems with recountable, auditable paper ballots, which are accessible to the highest degree possible.

This opinion is reflected in the Report of the Advisory Committee on Voting Technology to the Joint State Government Commission, released at the end of 2017.

On Friday, February 9, 2018, Governor Tom Wolf stated that henceforth all new voting systems purchased by counties in Pennsylvania will have provision for auditable, recountable paper ballots. Governor Wolf has not required counties’ purchase of new machines now, but when counties will purchase new systems they must provide what the rest of the counties in the Commonwealth already have.

On Monday, January 29, 2018, the Government Committee of the PA Senate held a hearing on the final report. Ron Bandes, President of VoteAllegheny, reports, "I served on this committee as the sole cybersecurity member, and also the sole representative from western Pennsylvania. We held half a dozen meetings by conference call, as well as one in-person meeting held before I joined the committee. Although we were charged only with examining technology, the committee found it necessary to recommend some changes to the Election Code as well."

You can view the hearing here.

This report was put together over the course of several months by a committee - a panel of citizen experts, including election administrators and cybersecurity experts, whom the Pennsylvania legislature specifically asked for their advice on voting technology.

The panel recommended, in addition to auditable and recountable paper ballots and among other things, two one-page bills that would serve to protect the votes of Pennsylvania citizens by requiring new voting systems to use paper ballots and comply with modern cybersecurity standards.

These simple changes in our laws would start Pennsylvania on the path toward modern best practices: auditable, more trustworthy voting machines using voter-verifiable paper ballots.


Other jurisdictions across the country and around the world have already understood this matter and have made the change. Pennsylvania is sadly behind in our stubbornness in this regard. Fewer than 25% of Pennsylvania voters vote on recountable and auditable machines. We can do better than this.

Voters in the following Pennsylvania counties have chosen to vote on recountable, auditable, voter-verifiable paper ballots: Indiana, Centre, Mifflin, Snyder, Juniata, Huntingdon, Fulton, Franklin, Adams, Montour, Lackawanna, Susquehanna, and Wayne.

It behooves the rest of us to follow their lead.


Federal legislation seems to agree.

According to a report in Ars Technica (link here), a bipartisan group of six senators has introduced legislation also aiming at securing our elections from both external and internal threats (and from general mishaps and worn-out electronics). We eagerly support this effort at the federal level, as well.


Please visit our External Links page for a variety of information on securing our votes.





What About Internet Voting?

Not now, not yet, not soon. We get this question often, and understand why it is asked. Please click on this paragraph for our page created when yet again our state legislators thought it might be nice to do Internet voting. It is still a very bad idea.





Why should we scrutinize the voting machines we use in three-quarters of the counties in Pennsylvania?

There are many reasons.

There is an intentional backdoor built in to some of our voting systems, which lets someone override the software in the machine at will, leaving no trace.

Clint Curtis, of Florida, was asked to write a hack to shift votes on any electronic voting machines, undetectedly, and he did so, as he testified.

Dan Rather did an exposé on the manufacture of certain voting machines, in a third-world country, and the quality control used: shaking them and listening to the rattle.

Many computer professionals have shown that the machines are riggable. Ed Felten has a YouTube video in which he hacks a machine in mere minutes, undetectably, and the software added then deletes itself after changing the votes.

Alex Halderman, of the University of Michigan, has shown the foibles of many brands of machine (and also of Internet voting, quite graphically). Harri Hursti, Greg Palast, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Barbara Simons, and others have hacked and have written about the foibles of the machines. Stephen Spoonamore has at least eight hours of YouTube testimony about these machines.

Allegheny County officials say that the software verification that only Allegheny County does is “proof” that they have not been hacked. But the verification is only that the hash of the program running matches the hash of the program we bought with the machines. It doesn’t say that the program works right. We have never known whether the programming works right! After the software verification, they send the machines back to ES&S to be rebuilt, and who knows what software they are installing! Additionally, for officials to refer to the software verification as a “forensic audit,” as they did in December 2016, is quite incorrect. None of us knows what the software is doing. Period.

Venango County, Pennsylvania, had a forensic audit. (One report is on our site under Documentation - Current.) Essentially it proved that a forensic audit doesn’t show anything but that the software doesn’t necessarily work the way it is supposed to work.

Yes, the voting machines passed the federal “certifications,” which are similar to Underwriters Laboratories’ certifications in that the machine maker pays the bill and we don't get the details. We do not know the software running, nor whether it counts accurately or reliably, because the software is proprietary.

The voting machines also passed the state “certifications,” which in Pennsylvania only verify that they can do what Pennsylvania law requires, such as straight-party ballots.

Regarding certifications, an attorney and professor who was a contractor for the Secretary of State in 2005-2006, certifying the voting systems for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, now testifies in court cases as a computer scientist that the machines are perfectly fine. He of course has a vested interest in saying nothing against the machines. We know of - and we have among our members - some computer scientists who would be able to testify objectively, but they are not asked.

Much of this is touched upon within the pages of this site, including the many external links we have posted.

There is plenty of evidence that we should not trust any votes cast upon these unrecountable machines, in Pennsylvania and anywhere else. Don’t let them tell you otherwise.





This is a link to information on our Citizen to Voter to Elector: Pathway and Issues Chart.

This is a link directly to the Chart.