This post is part of our Fall 2017 issue of Connection, our quarterly newsletter. To read the whole newsletter, click here.
Anyone concerned about the integrity of our democracy here in Delaware needs to contact their senator, representative, and Governor Carney and tell them: We need new voting machines now!
The situation is dire and even though the ACLU, the League of Women Voters, Common Cause and other groups have been talking to the Department of Elections for years about upgrading—it seems that the question of whether we will have new machines by 2020 is still up for debate.
The typical life of a voting machine like the one we use here, which is actually a computer, is 10 to 20 years. Our machines are 21 years old, being first used in 1996. They are no longer supported by Microsoft so their security software can no longer be updated. The odds of a hack or serious system failure are very real.
The task force set up by the General Assembly to recommend which new machines we should buy did not begin to meet until March of this year, the month their report was due. The original expectation was that we would have new machines by November 2018. Now the earliest they will be online is 2020.
And then there is the question of cost. New machines and associated technology will require a $15-20 million investment. It’s possible that we can lease some of the equipment and spread the cost out over time, but the bottom line is—new voting technology must be at the top of the spending priority list in 2018. Kicking this can down the road is not an option!
Not only are new machines essential for the integrity and security of our elections, they will allow us to finally move Delaware into the modern age and make it easier to implement voting reforms such as early voting and automatic and same day voter registration. So please, speak up about upgrading our voting technology to your friends and colleagues and contact your elected officials. New machines are fundamental to the smooth functioning of our democratic system.