Speak Out: Changes at the top

After a 12-year tenure that saw the state shift part of its voter registration system from paper to electronic and recently purchase new voting machines, Elaine Manlove has stepped down as Delaware’s commissioner of election.

Now, for the second time, Anthony Albence has been chosen to succeed her.

Mr. Albence was nominated by Gov. John Carney on June 13 and confirmed for a four-year term by the Senate on June 19. He previously served as New Castle County’s director of elections — the same position Ms. Manlove held prior to being tapped to oversee statewide elections.

•I operated election machines many times. Before and after voting, the machine operator opens a window and signs the paper, as do several others from both parties who are on site. No one can change what is in between the signatures. No one leaves a machine unattended. No voter can vote twice. No machine operator can leave the polling place. At the end, the machine spits out hard copy vote tallies, like a register receipt. The number of folks physically checked in is compared to number of votes the machine. Results are posted on the door of the polling place. (Original hard copy to DOE wrapped around the digital version). The machines reflect the votes of those who showed up to vote that day. The voting machines, themselves, are not the problem. — Gene Thornton

•“One of the most common questions the agency gets from Delawareans is how safe the machines are, Mr. Albence said. While there were attempts to penetrate the system in 2016 (Russians are suspected as the culprits, though the exact identity of the hackers is not known for sure), they were unsuccessful, according to Mr. Albence.”

I find it very interesting that the DOE claims that the Russians tried to hack the voting machines in 2016. They are not connected to the internet. Each machine is a standalone unit with no connection to any system whatsoever. The votes are captured electronically on an internal cartridge that is hand delivered to the DOE. — Bob Skuse

•Per Mr. Skuse’s comment: to clarify, any attempts by outside actors to penetrate any elections-related systems never impacted voting machines. Neither the old nor the new machines are ever or would ever be connected to the internet under any circumstance. Through our ongoing collaboration with our cybersecurity partners including the State’s Department of Technology & Information [DTI] & the federal Department of Homeland Security [DHS], we continue to be vigilant and maintain the highest level of security on all systems at all times. —Anthony Albence

•Machines run by Microsoft Windows software are vulnerable and can be hacked locally if the perp is clever enough. We are still vulnerable to hacking though not through the world wide web. And the legislative process led by the governor’s appointee Manlove continued to disregard these facts despite hearing the truth from Common Cause’s Jennifer A Hill and local activist Stan Merriman. — Nancy Willing

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