Pennacchio Highlights Reforms After AG Launches Investigation Into Voting Machine Problems

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In response to a new investigation launched by the New Jersey Attorney General into the 2022 Monmouth County election, where an error led to the double counting of votes in multiple towns, Senator Joe Pennacchio called on the Senate to advance his legislation that would increase transparency by requiring open source voting technology.

In response to a new investigation launched by the Attorney General into Monmouth County voting machine problems, Sen. Joe Pennacchio called on the Senate to advance his legislation that would require open source voting technology. (SenateNJ.com)

“The news coming out of Monmouth County is just another reason why we can’t rely on voting machines that use proprietary software for error-free results,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “Two years ago, I introduced legislation that would dramatically increase election transparency and integrity by requiring all voting machine technology to be open source. People have the right to demand elections that are fair and honest, and this bill would help restore faith in the process.”

Attorney General Matthew Platkin retained former state Attorney General and federal prosecutor Peter Harvey to lead the investigation into the Monmouth County election, where an error led to the double counting of votes in multiple towns, and threw the results of the Ocean Township Board of Education race into question.

Four Monmouth County towns were impacted—Belmar, Fair Haven, Ocean and Tinton Falls.

Pennacchio’s bill, S-238, would require paper ballots for in-person voters and mandate the use of open-source code for software controlling optical scanners used to record the votes.

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“If this incident in Monmouth County has taught us anything it’s that we need to ensure transparency of the mechanisms of voting software and hardware. Currently, the proprietary process is cloaked in secrecy, and neither the voting public nor the media have access to any preliminary data,” said Pennacchio. “However, requiring the use of open-source coding will allow developers and coding experts to comb through the programs and identify flaws and security vulnerabilities. This will increase oversight and public confidence in the process.”

The Senator’s legislation further addresses the public’s distrust by requiring open-source coding for software controlling scanning equipment and other gear.

The coding used in commercial voting booths is proprietary and can obscure vulnerabilities that hackers may exploit. The code in open-source software, on the other hand, is accessible to the large community of developers who can uncover weaknesses in the system and more importantly, can create transparency of the entire system.