Puerto Rico's electronic voting chaos comparable to Arizona's 2022 election, says Abe Hamadeh

“We know that there are problems with the machines or problems with the mail-in voting, there are problems with the registrations – you know, death by a thousand cuts,” congressional candidate Abe Hamadeh said.

Published: June 17, 2024 11:00pm

As electronic vote total errors plagued Puerto Rico’s primary elections earlier this month, Arizona GOP congressional candidate Abe Hamadeh drew sharp comparisons to his 2022 attorney general race, where votes were also incorrectly tabulated by machines.

Electronic voting and ballot tabulation machines have caused issues in certain instances with determining election results, as seen in both Puerto Rico’s primary elections this month and the Arizona attorney general election nearly two years ago, raising concerns about using electronic machines for elections.

Hamadeh, a Republican candidate for Arizona’s 8th Congressional District, told the "John Solomon Reports" podcast on Monday that he’s concerned about how “so many people” have “lost so much faith in our elections.

“And I can't blame them,” he added.

As an example, Hamadeh mentioned the issue with Puerto Rico’s primary election on June 2nd, where the machines “weren't tabulating properly.”

“People want to know, ‘is my vote going to be secure and safe?’” Hamadeh said.

He noted how his 2022 Arizona attorney general race was also marred with voting machine issues. Hamadeh explained that the election was decided by 280 votes out of 2.5 million, with 9,000 uncounted provisional votes.

Initially, the election results showed that Hamadeh lost by 511 votes. However, a recount found that machines in one county had a software update that incorrectly counted votes for Hamadeh “as a ‘no’ vote,” he said. The recount reduced the vote margin to 280.

“We know that there are problems with the machines or problems with the mail-in voting, there are problems with the registrations – you know, death by a thousand cuts,” Hamadeh said.

“Ultimately, right now, we have to operate within the system we've got,” he added. “So we are trying to make sure that it's going to be as accurate as possible and that no issues arise.”

Last Tuesday, Puerto Rico’s elections commission said that it was reviewing its contract with Dominion Voting Systems after numerous issues occurred with the company’s machines during the territory’s June 2nd primary election, the Associated Press reported.

The commission’s interim president, Jessika Padilla, said that a software update to the Dominion machines caused vote totals to be incorrectly calculated.

The winners of the elections were correctly identified and no one is contesting the results, but the machines reported lower vote counts in some cases than the paper tallies did, and some machines reported zero votes for some candidates or reversed certain totals.

“The concern is that we obviously have elections in November, and we must provide the (island) not only with the assurance that the machine produces a correct result, but also that the result it produces is the same one that is reported,” Padilla said.

Puerto Rico’s primaries used more than 6,000 Dominion voting machines. The company said that the software issues came from digital files used in exporting results from the machines.

The elections commission’s contract with Dominion ends on June 30th.

A Dominion spokesperson told Just the News on Monday, "There was no issue with the ability of the Dominion voting machines in Puerto Rico to accurately tabulate and generate reliable paper-based tally results reports. The election canvass and audits of hundreds of machines used in the June 2 election have independently verified the accuracy and reliability of summary results files contained on machine memory cards and corresponding results report tapes."

The primary elections were between the pro-statehood New Progressive Party and the Popular Democratic Party, which is for maintaining Puerto Rico’s territorial status. The Popular Democratic Party reported 350 errors of ballots showing inaccurate results, while the New Progressive Party reported more than 700 errors, with the discrepancies affecting races for resident commissioner, mayor, and governor.

Because of the errors, the elections commission audited paper receipts from hundreds of ballot-counting machines and conducted a full vote tally.

“As the Puerto Rico State Elections Commission has confirmed, the primary results reporting issue that occurred was specific to Puerto Rico’s unique third-party Receipt and Disclosure of Results (‘REYDI’) platform. All Dominion certified systems produce paper back-ups for auditability and transparency," the spokesperson for Dominion said.

On Saturday, in response to the news about Puerto Rico, Elon Musk called for electronic voting machines to be eliminated. Musk's comments on X were a repost from independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who highlighted the AP article on the Puerto Rico elections.

"We should eliminate electronic voting machines. The risk of being hacked by humans or AI, while small, is still too high," Musk wrote on X in response to Kennedy's post.

In Kennedy's post regarding the AP story, he wrote, “Puerto Rico’s primary elections just experienced hundreds of voting irregularities related to electronic voting machines, according to the Associated Press. Luckily, there was a paper trail so the problem was identified and vote tallies corrected. What happens in jurisdictions where there is no paper trail?

“US citizens need to know that every one of their votes were counted, and that their elections cannot be hacked,” he added. “We need to return to paper ballots to avoid electronic interference with elections. My administration will require paper ballots and we will guarantee honest and fair elections."

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