Banfield v. Cortes


The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania hears oral argument

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania heard oral argument on September 10, 2014. Law Center partner Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, argued the case for the petitioners, emphasizing that when the state legislature enacted the current voting-machines statute in 1980, it was very concerned about all-digital systems. These systems would not generate any record of a voter’s intent. Without the safeguard of a permanent physical record, there is no means to recount ballots or to identify fraud or error in the tabulation of results.

Attorneys for the state argued that no election system is free from the risk of tampering, and that the Court should defer to the Secretary’s discretion about which machines are safe enough. He contended that Pennsylvania has run 16 elections without incident since this case began, but acknowledged in response to a question from the bench that if there had been undetectable fraud or malfunction, no one would know.

The court is likely to rule on this issue by the end of 2014.

For additional coverage on the oral arguments:

Pa. Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Electronic Voting Machines – The Legal Intelligencer, September 11, 2014

Voting machine challenge goes before Pa. Supreme Court – Newsworks, September 10, 2014

Pa. High Court Considers Whether Phila. Voting Machines Are Too Unreliable – CBS Philly, September 10, 2014