October 29th, 2008
07:35 PM ET
14 years ago

Judge: PA must have paper ballots ready if half of machines fail

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Pennsylvania must have paper ballots available for its voters if half the machines at a polling place break down, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

The state wanted paper ballots mandatory only if all the machines in a polling place failed.

"Emergency back-up paper ballots shall be used thereafter until the county board of elections is able to make the necessary repairs to the machine(s) or is able to place into operation," Judge Harvey Bartle ruled.

The state will not appeal the decision. In a statement, Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro Cortes said the state will work with counties to ensure emergency ballots are used consistently, and that there is a sufficient supply.

soundoff (269 Responses)
  1. Denise Groves

    Our methods of casting votes during elections in the US is pathetic! It seems like something from a thrid world country. My state uses the paper method that leaves a trail. It is simple. Just color in the bubble of the candidate you want to vote for.

    October 29, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  2. anonymous

    how come that a modern democracy as the united states has problems with operating regular elections every 4 years?

    October 29, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  3. KLEE

    When I become President – I'm going to fix this voting machine mess once and for all – no more cheaters – no ifs, ands or buts!! Look at the great state of Nevada – they have voting machines in their malls and you can vote after you buy groceries! Now that's progress and it gets people where they live!

    October 29, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  4. Paco - Tucson, AZ

    Give that judge a pat on the back!

    October 29, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  5. Joe Green

    We can't even hold fair elections in this country. How disgraceful, EIGHT YEARS after the 2000 debacle.

    Guess which precincts the machines will "break down" in?

    Yup. Democratic ones.

    October 29, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  6. Oh no!

    The republicans are trying to steal another election. We all know the Democrats can't vote this way. It's a evil right wing conspiracy! I hope there are no chads involved.

    October 29, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  7. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Not only is McCain losing but his running mate Palin just put a knife in his back admitting she's in this race for herself in 2012. John McCain's judgement was way off when he picked Palin and the GOP aren't support Palin now nor will they support her in 2012. Palin and her husband are so uneducated and if this is the best America has to offer we are in bad shape.

    October 29, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  8. Joe

    Go ahead CNN, get in your swipes at McCain. Several polls show it to be a lot tighter than you say. Afraid that the election is slipping away from you... oh, sorry, I meant Obama

    October 29, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  9. Lamalamadingdong

    I'm appreciating the judges who are stepping up to insure that boards of elections actually do their job- insure the safety and validity of every voters right to have their vote count. The voting booth is the heart and soul of democracy. Thank you, judges, for helping to keep that booth open.

    October 29, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  10. Seanie

    I think that is great. All states need a backup plan if the voting machines are not working properly. Everyone vote must count. This is a election for my future, my children future and my children future, future. Vote! Vote! Vote!

    October 29, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  11. David Newport, OR

    put your hands in the air...all the republican tricks and scams are failing...(I'm sure it is the liberal judges again)

    October 29, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  12. Ben

    CNN why do close down comments so quickly on critical topics like Shay breaking from his party ranks. It honestly looks bad and feels a bit like it was forced by the powers that be. Please turn it around...you guys are better than that. People ougght to be able to speak there minds about this situation. One thing Fox can say is on the article regarding Biden's interview with a vicious interviewer at least that commentary box had close to 1000 comments.

    If we truly are the free media then we ought be inclusive....we all have opinions....the downright evil ones can be screened but everyone else ought to speak...thank you for listening.

    An America

    October 29, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  13. Got Change Obama?

    Barack Obama has lived one version of the American Dream that has taken him to the steps of the White House. But a few miles from where the Democratic presidential candidate studied at Harvard, his Kenyan aunt and uncle, immigrants living in modest circumstances in Boston, have a contrasting American story.

    Zeituni Onyango, the aunt so affectionately described in Mr Obama’s best-selling memoir Dreams from My Father, lives in a disabled-access flat on a rundown public housing estate in South Boston.

    A second relative believed to be the long-lost “Uncle Omar” described in the book was beaten by armed robbers with a “sawed-off rifle” while working in a corner shop in the Dorchester area of the city. He was later evicted from his one-bedroom flat for failing to pay $2,324.20 arrears, according to the Boston Housing Court.

    October 29, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  14. mbg

    Okay folks there has been a Ethics complaint filed in Alaska over Palin charging the state and her husband for travel

    Children= 32,629

    Also another compliant filed by Citizens for Responcible Ethics over the 150,000 dollar shopping spree.

    On top of that she has already violated Alaska Ethic Laws and she has the nerve to question Obama??? Confounding isnt it

    October 29, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  15. AG

    Can McCain's wife vote for him? Just a thought

    October 29, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  16. Te

    Can someone stop Rove,Tom Delay, Palin, Scooter Libby from destroying Social Security ?

    October 29, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  17. Angel with a dirty face

    America really IS a third world nation. The proof is the lack of voting.

    October 29, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  18. Ben

    Why does Palin blasting Obama get 500+ comments and The Shay breaking from the republican philosophy and die hard mumness about fact that are evident, not getting enough air time??

    October 29, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  19. annie - never again a dem.

    Poor cnn and even more so for campbell (obama is my man) brown – after all their lying about facts and loyal support to their god, he didn't run his infommercial on their network!!

    October 29, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  20. KLEE

    there isn't a liberal america – there isn't a conservative american there is just a United States of America – heard speech from Obama on TV – inspiring and touches your soul – i have never been so taken by an election in my life and i've been around for awhile....let's do it right – keep it honest – and stay between the lines. thank you and good night

    October 29, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  21. mmd

    CNN, when will you mention that mccain is doing robocalls in his own states, where Obama is just 2pts behind. John King color arizona bright pink.

    October 29, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  22. Jose A Rodriguez Lugo

    As an independent, I’m heartened by the fact that there are still many decent and honorable leaders in the Republican Party who recognize a dirty campaign when they see one. I agree with Congressman Shays who has stated as much re: the McCain/Palin campaign. I have grown weary of John McCain’s taking stances on policy issues on-the-go as much as I have been disgusted with the innuendo and mud-slinging. Sarah Palin wasn’t kidding when she appeared to allude to herself as a pit-bull on the campaign trail. I believe all the signs point to a defeat for John McCain on November 4th, 2008, at which time he will begin to understand the huge blunder that he made in choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate. When the campaign began, I was leaning to voting for McCain. He and Sarah Palin, (and especially Sarah Palin) however, have done everything they could to get me to vote against them, and for someone whose message was coherent, intelligent, understandable and holistic. The damage that Sarah Palin has done to our great nation will require healing. This novice from Alaska has spewed negativity and stoked the fires of hatred and divisiveness like no one in our history. She has blamed everyone for her lack of knowledge and discipline on the campaign trail. My hope is that after November 4th, we can forget her and begin the healing process as 300 plus million Americans with different ideas but, as One Nation, Under God, Indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for All.

    October 29, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  23. Rob

    Good for him– a real working judge count all the votes–no more GOP bs-–

    October 29, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  24. Ice breaker

    The devil is in the details. If... means ONLY if. Waht then?! Only half the votes of the bogus "real" PA will count, no?

    October 29, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  25. slickingdom in N.J.

    In the event that Pennsylvania should need to go to paper ballots, I
    sincerely hope that Pennsylvania makes sure the corruption of the
    republicans does not rear its ugly head and destroy the votes.
    I put nothing past them at this point.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 29, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
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