Last month, Citizens for Better Elections, Free Speech For People, National Election Defense Coalition, and Protect Our Vote Philly petitioned the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on behalf of Pennsylvania voters to re-examine the ES&S ExpressVote XL voting machine due to concerns about security, privacy, verifiability, and accessibility. The Secretary agreed to act expeditiously to re-examine the machine, but has not announced any plans since. 

This week, we learned that a secret examination is already underway via a process that excludes members of the public from witnessing the re-examination process. For decades, every examination of a voting machine in Pennsylvania has been open to the public and every petition for re-examination has invited members of the public to observe. The petitioners sent a letter to the Department of State on Thursday asking the Department to follow its own past practice of examining voting machines in public. They argued that the Secretary cannot restore public trust in a voting system without public transparency of the process used to review it. 

“Apart from your office’s own past practice and the requirements of the Sunshine Act, conducting the re-examination in secret would violate your office’s recent agreement settling a federal constitutional lawsuit against the Secretary’s office in [federal constitutional litigation in] Stein v. Cortes,” the letter said.

Here at Free Speech For People, we believe that having secure and reliable voting machines strengthens our political process and ensures that our democracy truly works for all. We are proud to support the petitioners in their quest for transparency and look forward to a response from the Secretary’s office about how to deliver just that.

Click here to read the letter in full