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Lehigh Valley Election News

Lawmaker calls on county executive to resign over voting machine 'fiasco'

mcckenzie mcclure.png
State Rep. Milou Mackenzie, left, is calling on Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure, right, to resign because of voting machine problems on Election Day.

  • State Rep. Milou Mackenzie, a Republican, blasted Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure
  • McClure says he has taken responsibility and has no plans to step down
  • Mackenzie also wants the county to hire a new voting machine vendor

EASTON, Pa. — A state lawmaker is calling on Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure to resign over the voting machine problems that plagued the start of Election Day.

State Rep. Milou Mackenzie, R-Northampton/Lehigh/Montgomery, said the county also should end its contract with ES&S, the voting machine vendor.

“Mr. McClure and the machine manufacturer’s representatives have chalked this disaster up to ‘human error’ and ‘laziness,’” Mackenzie said in a prepared statement released Thursday. “I would like to add the adjectives of incompetence, indifference, and irresponsibility to that description. It’s time for Mr. McClure and the ES&S voting machines to go.”

McClure, a Democrat in his second term as executive, said he will not step down.

“My response is ‘Milou who?’” he said. “I have absolutely no plan to resign. If she wants to debate it she can run for executive in 2025 and we can debate it.”

On Tuesday morning, poll workers in several precincts instructed voters to use emergency paper ballots after discovering the voting machines produced paper backups that did not match voters' selections.

The county later determined the problem was contained to retention questions for two Superior Court judges. An investigation determined the digital ballot in the machine correctly recorded the votes.

A court order later let the county continue to use the voting machines, but that came hours after some polling places switched to emergency paper ballots. More than 2,000 of them were used and began being counted Thursday.

McClure on Tuesday said he was “livid” over the problems. The county should have discovered the mistake during pre-election Logic and Accuracy Testing, he said, but election staff did not perform rigorous-enough testing.

"We are being ridiculed and mocked on national television and in political discussions everywhere."
State Rep. Milou Mackenzie, R-Northampton/Lehigh/Montgomery

McClure said Thursday that the testing is open to the public and leaders of the county Republican and Democratic committees are notified. He noted that neither Mackenzie nor Republican Party leaders attended the testing and final machine inspections, where ballots, checklists and tapes of individual voting machines can be reviewed.

“She is right that it is unacceptable that any error happened. But this was a relatively minor error,” McClure said. “It was a glitch and easily correctable. The fact of the matter is the actual intent was recorded on the machines. The votes were recorded correctly on the machine.”

No plans to switch voting machine vendors

In her statement, Mackenzie demanded to know the names of everyone asked to check the machines before Election Day.

“Each and every one of them needs to resign from their positions,” she said. “The restoration of the voters’ and candidates’ confidence in our free and fair elections is no small and insignificant matter.”

Said McClure: “I agree with the assessment that people are trying to undermine democracy by undermining our faith in elections. We have to be almost perfect and we weren’t in this instance. I’m accountable. I took responsibility for that.”

He said the county plans a more extensive review of what happened once the election is certified. But he said there are currently no plans to bring on a new voting machine vendor other than ES&S, especially with 2024 being a presidential election.

“One of the concerns would be having our people trained on a whole new system,” he said, noting the machines worked flawlessly in 2020 with high voter turnout. “I think we can get ourselves into tip-top shape and be ready.”

Said Mackenzie: “Mr. McClure, his staff, and the group of people who failed to check the machines have brought shame and disgrace to Northampton County. We are being ridiculed and mocked on national television and in political discussions everywhere. The buck stops with Mr. McClure, and he needs to resign. We need to protect the voters of Northampton County well before the election of 2024.”