A laptop and several memory sticks used to program Philadelphia’s voting machines were stolen from a city warehouse in East Falls, city officials confirmed Wednesday, setting off a scramble among elections officials to investigate the theft and ensure the machines could not be compromised before Election Day.
The equipment appeared to be taken this week, sources said. Officials immediately began checking to make sure none of the voting machines had been compromised while also working to contain the fallout for fear of how President Donald Trump and his allies might use the news to cast doubt on the integrity of the city’s elections.
Still, when contacted by The Inquirer, the commissioners initially refused to confirm the theft or that they had opened an investigation. They only did so after The Inquirer informed them that it would be reporting the theft based on sources who had been briefed on the matter but were not authorized to publicly discuss it.
Trump, who trails former vice president Joe Biden in Pennsylvania polls, has sought to cast doubt on the election. That’s alarmed experts and voting rights advocates, who say the president is undermining public confidence in the electoral system and inappropriately politicizing the democratic process.
Philadelphia has 3,750 of the ExpressVote XL touchscreen voting machines, and elections staff have begun programming them to prepare for Nov. 3. The flash drives are inserted into the top of the machines and some of them — it’s unclear which, specifically, were taken — are also used to record the electronic vote records used for unofficial results reporting on election night.
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 obviously identifiable because they will have broken seals. The commissioners have begun checking all the sealed machines, Custodio said, to ensure they have not been opened.
The real crime, though, is the hair and clown makeup. That face has “misdemeanor” written all over it. Yikes.How on earth is that just a misdemeanor? If you inserted fake invoices and altered real ones in your accounting books, you'd be charged with a felony for sure, and this is a hundred times worse.