ND Voting Machines “Obsolete” Since 2003

Secretary of State Al Jaeger is North Dakota's top election official.

North Dakota is relying on voting machines that were “already obsolete” when the state bought them in 2003, Secretary of State Al Jaeger said on public radio.

Why did taxpayers purchase obsolete equipment? It’s sad that we have to ask this question. Anyway, it isn’t answered in Prairie Public Radio’s report. So we have sent Jaeger and email and will update with any response.

You’d think that legislators would be trying to fix this problem, considering that elections are the most important part of a democracy. Instead, earlier this week they refused to fund necessary upgrades to the state’s shitty election equipment.

Election officials say the system could be “unworkable” by 2020, the Grand Forks Herald reported.

Update, 1/28/17: Jaeger offered this explanation in an email: “We did not buy obsolete machines.  We bought what was available.  There is a lot more to the story.  When congress passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in 2002, it mandated that all the states have new voting machines in place by the 2004 and 2006 elections.  Time was short and all states had to buy what was available.  In the short time available, the systems that voting equipment companies had available were based on technology that had not yet advanced to the next stage.  For example, even though optical scan technology was already becoming dated by that time, digital technology had not yet been built into election equipment.  Also, the system purchased by the state was based on a Microsoft XP platform, which is no longer supported and due to hardware limitations cannot be updated beyond Windows 7.  Therefore, my point was that we purchased new equipment, but the technology available at that time was still catching up.  Because of the huge demand from all of the states for voting systems, it was all that was available during that short period to comply with HAVA.  Today’s systems are based on modern digital based technology.

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