Head due west from New York City for about 70 miles and you'll reach the seat of Northampton County, home to about 208,000 registered voters — voters who used this machine to cast their ballots for the first time last fall.

It's called the ExpressVote XL.

As Lamont McClure, the county executive of Northampton County, explained, it didn't go so well.

"On some of the machines," McClure said. "And remember this was a human error on ES&S's part, they have taken full responsibility for that — they weren't configured properly, so the screens were hyper-sensitive."

Thirty percent of the 320 machines here malfunctioned.

"The box was down here in the right corner. So a lot of the Democrats, when they went to hit that box, down in the right corner, were right next to the Republican side. The Republican side was lighting up as a result," said Amy Cozze, the chief registrar of Northampton County.

The company that makes the machine, Election Systems and Software, or ES&S, called it human error.

ES&S took responsibility. The machines, we're told, are now fixed.

"I am holding ES&S accountable. They have to put on a good primary for us. And then they have to put on a good general," McClure said. "ES&S is not off the hook."

The New York State Board of Elections is in the final stages of determining whether it will allow this machine to operate in New York, a decision that could happen in the next few months.

"We have looked at what's happened in Pennsylvania, and that will be part of the analysis," said Doug Kellner of the state Board of Elections. "I would anticipate another month or two. Those reports will be public and the decision will be made on certification."

Advocates in New York say what happened in Pennsylvania should be seen as a warning. They say it's one reason the state shouldn't certify these machines.

"This machine should not be certified for New York elections," said Sarah Goff of Common Cause. "We would be setting ourselves up for failure if we do."

Common Cause is asking for an investigation into Michael Ryan, the leader of the city Board of Elections, and his relationship with ES&S. In 2018, NY1 exclusively revealed the company was paying for Ryan to attend conferences across the country.

Last year, Ryan made a pitch for the city to use the ExpressVote XL during early voting, even before the state was done testing it. Those tests should be done soon.

The city board of Elections would not say whether it would buy the machines if it gets official approval from the state.


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