Report: Laptop, Memory Sticks to Program Philadelphia Voting Machines Stolen

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Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

The equipment appeared to be taken this week, sources said. Officials immediately began checking to make sure none of the voting machines had been compromised while also working to contain the fallout for fear of how President Donald Trump and his allies might use the news to cast doubt on the integrity of the city’s elections. […]

Many details surrounding the incident remained unclear Wednesday afternoon including exactly how the equipment was taken, whether there are any suspects, and details on how the missing technology might be used. Officials said there are multiple levels of security to prevent the equipment from being used maliciously, and a police investigation is ongoing.

Mayor Jim Kenney issued the following statement on the matter to the Inquirer:

Since being informed of the incident, I have immediately committed to making necessary police resources available to investigate this incident and find the perpetrators. I have also committed to the City Commissioners additional resources to provide enhanced security at the warehouse going forward. This matter should not deter Philadelphians from voting, nor from having confidence in the security of this.

The report comes hours after President Donald Trump’s campaign threatened to sue unless it is granted access to observe activity inside opened satellite election offices in Philadelphia.

“If we have not satisfactorily resolved this matter by tomorrow at 5 p.m., the campaign will seek court intervention,” attorney Linda Kerns wrote in a letter to officials.

The Associated Press notes:

Election lawyers say there is no right under Pennsylvania law, even for a certified poll watcher, to observe inside an election office where someone is registering to vote, applying for a mail-in ballot or filling one out.

During Tuesday evening’s presidential debate, President Trump referenced Philadelphia’s satellite voting centers, saying “bad things” are known to happen in the Democrat-controlled city.

“As you know, today there was a big problem. In Philadelphia, they went in to watch. They’re called poll watchers,” the president said. “It’s a very safe, very nice thing. They were thrown out. They aren’t allowed to watch. You know why? Cause bad things happen in Philadelphia.”

Earlier Tuesday, President Trump took to social media to weigh in on claims about poll watchers being blocked from entering the officers.

“Wow. Won’t let Poll Watchers & Security into Philadelphia Voting Places,” he tweeted. “There is only one reason why. Corruption!!! Must have a fair Election.”