Philadelphia, Monday, February 11, 2019—Kahlil Williams, Democratic Candidate for City Commissioner on Monday issued a statement regarding Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s announcement that his office was opening a probe into Philadelphia’s selection of new voting machines.
“One month ago, I attended the City Commissioners' meeting requesting public comment on new voting machines. The Commissioners had previously made no public statement that the City intended to purchase new voting machines, so the announcement of the meeting was the first real notification to the public.
“Despite the short notice, concerned citizens attended, listened, and gave incredibly insightful comments. Those comments were made more impressive by the fact that Philadelphians had zero visibility into the Request for Proposal (RFP) process, and the RFP itself was difficult to locate. This closed-door approach to election integrity is unacceptable, and it's something I'll work to address on day one as City Commissioner.
“Anyone who wanted to comment was required to go out and study the vast array of options, then make educated guesses as to which system would be preferable. This would be a bit like offering public commentary on Gritty's dietary regimen--sure, we want what's best for them, but we have no idea what the options are, nor do we know what impact those options might have.
“So I asked for three simple things: 1) Make the RFP more accessible by posting it on their own website; 2) Make the transcripts from the hearings available online for free or provide recordings; and 3) Explain the Office's rationale for choosing to roll out new voting machines in 2019 and when that decision was made and announced to the public.
“The Commissioners publicly declined my invitation to explain their decision to roll out these machines on an expedited schedule.
“As of today, the Commissioners have not posted the RFP on their website nor made transcripts of the public comment sessions available.
“I'm grateful for Auditor General DePasquale's probe, which sheds more light on this flawed process, and I'm hopeful that it encourages the City to pause, regroup, and develop a process that is transparent, responsive, and demands accountability from our leaders.”