Judge rejects Jill Stein’s voting machine lawsuit in Philly

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A federal judge has denied a request to decertify voting machines being used by Philadelphia and two other counties in the battleground state of Pennsylvania before November’s presidential election.

In a Wednesday ruling, U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond in Philadelphia said the plaintiffs, including former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and several supporters, made allegations that are “baseless and irrational.”

The motion to decertify the ExpressVote XL stems from the 2018 settlement of a lawsuit that accused Pennsylvania of violating the constitutional rights of voters in 2016’s presidential election because its voting machines were susceptible to hacking and barriers to a recount were pervasive.

As part of the settlement, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration pledged to require counties to replace their voting machines before 2020’s elections.

Stein’s group sued again last November, contending that certifying the ExpressVote XL violated the settlement agreement, in part because the machine does not meet the agreement’s requirement “that every Pennsylvania voter in 2020 uses a voter-verifiable paper ballot.”

Wolf’s administration had defended its certification of the machines. Northampton County first used the machines last fall when problems led to undercounted returns in a county judicial race.

The machine’s maker, Omaha, Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software, blamed the incorrect results on human errors in formatting the ballot. Ultimately, election workers counted the vote on paper ballots.