PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia police are investigating after an employee’s laptop and encrypted USB flash drives were stolen from an election machine warehouse at 3500 Scotts Lane in East Falls, the Philadelphia City Commissioner’s office confirmed Wednesday. Officials said the stolen laptop did not contain any election materials on it and isn’t capable of programming any of the city’s election machines.
The city commissioner’s office said the laptop’s security features prevent unauthorized access and that the user account has already been disabled. They added they’re “rechecking all of the seals on the already tested machines.”
“We are confident that this incident will not in any way compromise the integrity of the election,” the city commissioner’s office said in a statement.
Election Systems & Software is the manufacturer of the election machine. An ES&S spokesperson said the encrypted USB flash drives “contain multiple levels of security” and the laptop’s “not used to program the election or interact with USBs used in elections.”
“Upon learning of the theft, ES&S immediately changed the employee’s corporate network user account and the device address was blocked and passwords changed,” the spokesperson said. “ES&S is confident that this incident will not in any way compromise the integrity of the election.”
Anyone with any information regarding the stolen laptop and USBs is being asked to contact Philly police at 215-686-8477.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania election officials on Wednesday pushed back against “completely inaccurate” comments President Donald Trump made about the city’s satellite election offices during Tuesday night’s presidential debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
City officials reiterated Wednesday the satellite election offices are not polling places and therefore, poll watchers are unnecessary and not allowed.
“It is not a polling location,” Philadelphia City Commissioner Lisa Deeley said. “It is a temporary election office where services are made available to citizens who would like to register to vote or request their mail-in ballot. They can vote their mail ballot there or they can take it home and vote on it at their dining room table.”
The Trump campaign is threatening to sue over the satellite election offices.