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.

VoteAllegheny is proud to work with other organizations and citizen groups in Pennsylvania and as a part of VotePA.

We need voting systems with recountable, auditable paper ballots.

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?

Click here 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.

Other Recent Issues: Referendum and Legislation

Click here for our special page and links regarding legislation some VoteAllegheny members have worked on drafting, which we encourage Allegheny County Council to pass.

Our Press Release dated August 10, 2017, is here.

Our Press Release dated August 5, 2017, is here. Our Press Release dated July 30, 2017, is here. Our Press Release dated July 17, 2017, is here.

Prior issue: Recount

Click here for our special page and links regarding recount of 2016 election.

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

Let’s count the reasons.

There is an intentional backdoor built in to the ES&S iVotronics, referred to as the Factory Test PEB, 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, to Republicans, as he testified.

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

Bob Ney, who introduced the Help America Vote Act, which set aside $4 billion for new machines, somehow made certain that his friends the Urosevich brothers – one brother the CEO of Diebold Voting Systems (now named Premier) and the other brother the CEO of ES&S Voting Systems – got the lion’s share of that money. The brothers were reportedly highly partisan in their politics, even while running private voting system companies. Bob Ney went to jail in the Abramoff scandal.

Some entrepreneurs made new voting systems to respond to the rolling standards and deadlines of the Help America Vote Act, but next to no one bought their systems, no matter how good, open, accessible, lightweight, inexpensive to operate, recountable, secure, or logically better. Allegheny County’s Executive at the time said that he wouldn’t want to buy from a new company, he wanted to buy the old technology being jerry-rigged by the older companies, even though they run old Windows, operate on Commodore 64 style systems, or have miserably slow and cumbersome accessibility for the vision-impaired.

Many computer professionals have shown that the machines are riggable. Ed Felten has a YouTube video in which he hacks the Diebold 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.

Mark Wolosik says 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 Mark to refer to the software verification as a “forensic audit,” as he 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.

The voting machines passed the extremely poor 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. Maybe it was or maybe it was not changed in this election, but the evidence either way is that the machines are badly made.

Then the voting machines passed the state “certifications,” which in Pennsylvania only verify that they can do what Pennsylvania law requires, such as straight-party ballots. Actually, some of our state statutes were overlooked, or the Secretary of State issued memoranda that we were to overlook certain statutes in passing certain systems, or we could redefine what the statutes were calling for.

Speaking of certifications, attorney and professor Michael Shamos was a contractor for the Secretary of State in 2005-2006, certifying the voting systems for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He is now testifying 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 would not serve the purposes of the government in protecting their own interests.

Much of this is touched upon within the pages of this site, and within the 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.