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PA Secretary of the Commonwealth Decertifies UniLect Patriot Voting System in Pennsylvania
Press Release   Thursday April 7, 4:24 pm ET
- System Used in Beaver, Greene and Mercer Counties

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 7 /PRNewswire/ In a report issued today, Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro A. Cortes announced the decertification of the UniLect Patriot Direct Recording Electronic Voting System that only serves Beaver, Greene and Mercer counties.

On October 1, 2004, the Department of State examined the system and found it to be operational and in proper working order. During a reexamination on Feb. 15, however, the System failed to sense screen touches multiple times and did not register nor record votes. The screen also "froze" and stopped accepting touches during the reexamination. The Department believes these malfunctions help explain why there were more than 10,000 instances where a vote was not counted in the three counties during the 2004 general election. According to a study released by Grove City College, the undercount percentages in each county were: Mercer - 7.29 percent; Greene - 4.5 percent; and Beaver - 5.25 percent.

"Making sure that every person's vote is counted in every county throughout Pennsylvania is a top priority of this administration," Cortes said. "The Department of State will do all that it can to make sure that these counties have our full support in order to have a smooth and accurate election during the primary on May 17. We will provide them with the very best technical assistance available."

The Department performed the System's reexamination at the request of 19 registered voters from Beaver County as provided by the PA Election Code. Members of the public and news media were present.

At the recommendation of Michael I. Shamos, Ph.D., J.D., an expert consultant retained by the Department, Cortes concluded that the System's certification was to be revoked. The report issued today details the reasoning behind the revocation of certification for the system in accordance with relevant sections of the PA Election Code that address the decertification of electronic voting systems.

The System was determined to not be "safely and efficiently usable in the conduct of elections" nor is it "capable of absolute accuracy" as required by the PA Election Code. The System also was flawed in not allowing the voter to "readily learn the method of operating it." The System was also confusing to voters. Messages displayed on the touch screen and write-in screen were misleading or unclear.

"Voting should not be complicated and we will do everything possible to make sure that voters can understand and carry out instructions in the voting booth," Cortes said.

Each of the three counties will evaluate which voting system will be implemented to ensure an accurate election on May 17.

For more information about voting systems in Pennsylvania or to review the reexamination results of UniLect Patriot Direct Recording Electronic Voting System, please visit the Department of State's Web site, http://www.dos.state.pa.us.

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