We're not speaking of voter suppression today, but actual election integrity, a problem that many people think the new voting machines purchased by the Harris County commissioners have solved. I don't think so, Judge Lina Hidalgo.
It's noon on Tuesday, @HarrisCoJudge @LinaHidalgoTX and judging by your lack of response, I'll presume that you have no interest in addressing these concerns, privately or publicly. Thus I'll move ahead and publish my story. #HouNews https://t.co/9L6FLShSgk— Forever in debt to your priceless advice. (@PDiddie) March 30, 2021
What were those concerns again?
Harris county, Texas ignores experts who advise pen & paper for most in-person voters. Chooses new Hart touchscreens (BMDs). A recent study shows voters miss 93% of inaccuracies & omissions caused by BMDs in marking the paper. 1/ https://t.co/MWDxHWcxnk— Jennifer Cohn ✍🏻 📢 (@jennycohn1) March 25, 2021
That's a thirteen-count thread -- here's the unroll -- and it's pretty alarming. Note in the replies there the experts who express misgivings, and the local activist who lobbied Commissioners Court in vain prior to the county's $54 million buy. I asked Brad Friedman of BradBlog to weigh in; he is, to my experience, one of the nation's pre-eminent experts in the field of what we used to call black box voting, a topic he's covered -- and one detailed by many others -- for 20 years.
Those machines are 100% unverifiable after an election. There is no way to know that ANY computer-marked ballot actually reflects the intent of ANY voter. Ever. Period.— Brad Friedman (@TheBradBlog) March 27, 2021
Uh oh. What about local authority Dan Wallach, of Rice University? He's expressed no concerns that I can find about the Hart InterCivic Verity Duo, this new tech from the same vendor which supplied our old e-Slates with the scrolling wheel. Wallach testified last week (.pdf) before the Texas Senate's State Affairs committee about election security; he writes at Medium, his Twitter page contains more geeks talking voting tech, and he's been published frequently, including by Zach Despart of the Houston Chronicle in October of last year about this topic.
My interpretation of his recent remarks is: "these latest machines are better than what Harris County had before, but that's not saying much". (Professor Wallach, if you read this and I have you mistaken, please feel free to correct me.)
Of course if Judge Hidalgo, or Elections Aministrator Isabel Longoria, or whoever monitors the Twitter accounts of Harris Votes or Hart InterCivic had wanted to respond to my concerns, they could have done so already. Maybe they're all too busy to do so. Maybe they have their Twitter notifications turned off. Maybe I'm just a lowly blogger who isn't worthy of a response. Maybe they didn't know about these issues (that doesn't fly for Hart); maybe they just don't give a shit. We don't know, because nobody has said anything.
Somehow I expected more from a public servant whom I have voted for, donated to, and praised on these pages as a "rising star in the Democratic Party".
At any rate, if you want to take a look at how the new voting machines work, Judge Hidalgo and John Coby have a preview.
Our incredible new voting machines are in the house, and we took them for a test drive. Look out for them in an upcoming election near you. pic.twitter.com/OxqCF9OzFp— Office of Judge Lina Hidalgo (@HarrisCoJudge) March 26, 2021
As for me, I'm voting by mail. With an actual hand-marked paper ballot.