The North Carolina State Board of Elections (SBE) met Thursday to, among other things, consider certification of new voting systems. Before the board’s discussion, a few members of the public presented prepared statements. The first came from Lynn Bernstein, a North Carolina voter, who spoke about the extreme risk to election security posed by electronic voting machines, especially those created by Election Systems and Software.
Election Systems and Software (ES&S), the nation’s top voting machine maker and one of the companies whose machines the NC SBE plans to certify, admitted in a letter to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) in April of 2018 that it had installed the remote-access software pcAnywhere on a number of election systems that it had sold. This admission was in direct contrast to a previous statement ES&S made in February of that year, in which the company stated that none of its voting systems had ever been sold with any remote-access software on them.
“Remote-access software and modems on election equipment is the worst decision for security short of leaving ballot boxes on a Moscow street corner,” said Bernstein, quoting a statement Sen. Wyden made to Motherboard. Bernstein argued that a company that had repeatedly lied about the nature of its machines and had only revealed the truth after being caught in its lies could not be trusted to help keep North Carolina’s elections safe.
“This begs the question: why is this board trusting ES&S’ word that these machines are secure and accurate?” asked Bernstein.
Bob Cordle, the chair of the SBE, pushed back against Bernstein’s arguments.
“In my experience… we had more problems with hand ballots than we did with any other ballots,” said Cordle. “There was more lying, cheating, and stealing going on… and also questions about… there were lots of questions about whether the oval was filled in, whether both ovals were filled in, so there are problems with hand ballots, too.”
“The research showed that 0.007% of ballots have stray marks,” said Bernstein. “That’s very, very few.” Read more