As the New York State Board of Election considers Election Systems & Software’s (ES&S) application for certification for its ExpressVote XL in New York, Free Speech For People submitted public comments opposing certification of the all-in-one ballot marking device and vote tabulator. Free Speech For People is legally challenging the use of the ExpressVote XL in Pennsylvania, alleging it does not meet the Commonwealth’s election code. FSFP warned that the ExpressVote XL may similarly violate key New York State election law. 

The ExpressVote XL records vote selections in a barcode printed on a ballot summary card, along with a summary of the vote selections in readable text. However, the ExpressVote XL tabulates votes only from the unreadable barcode, which means voters are unable to verify their vote selections. “The simple fact is, by recording and scanning the vote selections in and from an indecipherable barcode,” FSFP wrote, “the ExpressVote XL does not provide voters an opportunity to privately and independently verify votes selected and recorded, and does not comply with New York State election law.”

FSFP also warned that the election software used with the ExpressVote XL voting system is running on Windows 7, which has been discontinued by Microsoft and is no longer receiving security patches and updates. ES&S came under fire in July 2019 over its continued use of the aging software from the press, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, and a U.S. Senator. At that time ES&S vowed to update its products to Windows 10 and migrate its customers to the newer systems. Yet, ES&S engaged in a certification and marketing campaign to sell this system in New York State almost eighteen months later. 

Disturbingly, the paperwork ES&S submitted with the system claimed it was running Windows 10. Voting system examiners noted in their report that the documentation misrepresented the actual operating system. FSFP warned the Board of Elections that ES&S has previously mispresented its products. In 2020,  ES&S was rebuked by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) for claiming its voting systems with wireless modems were federally certified when they were not.

Susan Greenhalgh, senior advisor on election security told the New York Daily News, “A year and a half later, they are still hawking Windows 7 systems, which demonstrates a blatant disregard for the most rudimentary cybersecurity principles. This should be disqualifying in itself.”

Read FSFP’s public comments here

Read the full New York Daily News story here.