Well you sure haven’t heard this in the mainstream media, have you America?
A laptop and several memory sticks used to program Philadelphia’s voting machines were stolen from a city warehouse in East Falls, officials confirmed In September, setting off a scramble to investigate and to ensure the machines had not been compromised they claimed.
This story barely received any attention back in September but it sure matters now, doesn’t it?
Though it remains unclear when the equipment was stolen, sources briefed on the investigation said the items vanished this week of September 30th. The laptop belonged to an on-site employee for the company that supplies the machines. It and the USB drives were the only items believed to have been taken.
City officials vowed back then that the theft would not disrupt voting on Nov. 3. They were wrong.
“We are confident,” said Nick Custodio, a deputy to Lisa Deeley, chair of the city commissioners, who oversee elections, “that this incident will not in any way compromise the integrity of the election.”
But behind the scenes, they fretted about how President Donald Trump and his allies might use the news to cast doubt on the integrity of the city’s elections in light of false claims and conspiracy theories he cited during Tuesday’s presidential debate.
Now why would city officials be saying President Trump would use this information back in September about voter fraud if they weren’t already preparing just like they did with the Russian collusion hoax?
Philadelphia police referred all questions to Mayor Jim Kenney’s office.
“Since being informed of the incident, I have immediately committed to making necessary police resources available to investigate this incident and find the perpetrators. I have also committed to the city commissioners additional resources to provide enhanced security at the warehouse going forward,” Kenney said in a statement. “This matter should not deter Philadelphians from voting, nor from having confidence in the security of this election.”
Custodio, the deputy to Deeley, said officials ensured the stolen laptop had been disabled remotely after the theft was discovered to prevent it from being used and added that it “did not have any of our election material on it.”
The flash drives are encrypted to prevent tampering, and specifically matched with individual voting machines, said a spokesperson for Election Systems & Software, the voting machine vendor, adding: “Upon programming, these encryption keys ‘marry’ the USB with the machine, and if placed in another machine, it will cause an error and the machine will not work.”
Philadelphia has 3,750 of the ExpressVote XL touchscreen voting machines, and elections staff have begun programming them so they are ready to use on Nov. 3. The flash drives are inserted into the top of the machines; some of them are used to record the electronic votes used for unofficial results on election night, but it was unclear whether those stolen served that function.
Once a machine has been set up, it’s closed with a numbered seal. That means that any voting machines that are opened after being programmed should be identifiable because they would have broken seals. The commissioners have begun checking all the seals on the machines, which are numbered to prevent them from being opened and simply replaced, Custodio said, to ensure they have not been tampered with.
Sources familiar with the investigation said late September that during the review, officials found several machines had the wrong seal numbers, but Custodio said they believe the discrepancies were due to a logging error in recording the numbers and did not indicate that the machines had been compromised.
Those machines, he said, “will be thoroughly examined, wiped, and tested just to be sure.”
Now considering they wouldn’t even let poll watchers in, there’s no way we can’t now believe this happened America.
The Governor of Pennsylvania made this statement about the stolen memory sticks and other items.
“All voting systems have voter-verified paper ballots, which can be audited or recounted and are the official vote of record,” Wanda Murren, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of State, said in a statement. “We are confident that Philadelphia, working with the department and our many partners, will be able to conduct a secure and fair election for its voters on Nov. 3.”
This is a developing story and one America needs to hear. Thanks to The Inquirer for contributing to this story.