-- Brad Friedman
Sequoia Voting Systems has sent a legal threat to Princeton University computer science professors Ed Felten and Andrew Appel warning them of legal action should they proceed with an analysis of New Jersey's touch-screen voting machines as unanimously recommended last week by an association representing election clerks across the state.
In a terse email sent last Friday, obtained today by The BRAD BLOG, Sequoia's Edwin Smith, Vice-President of Compliance/Quality/Certification, warns the university academics that the company has "retained counsel to stop any infringement of our intellectual properties, including any non-compliant analysis."
"We will also take appropriate steps to protect against any publication of Sequoia software, its behavior, reports regarding same or any other infringement of our intellectual property," Smith threatens.
The email from Smith to Felten and Appel is posted in full at the end of this article. Felten has confirmed its authenticity late this afternoon.
The call by state election officials for the independent study of Sequoia's AVC Advantage touch-screen machines comes in the wake of a recent finding that the systems mistallied voter turnout totals across at least six different counties in New Jersey's February 5th Presidential Primary Election. During a post-election canvass, it was found that the number of voters for each party, as reported by the internal printouts on the electronic voting machines, failed to match totals on the internal memory cards inside the same systems in a number of instances across the state.
Sequoia's explanation for the problem, essentially blaming voters and poll workers for pushing a complicated series of buttons, was found lacking by the state election clerks.
The discovery of mistallies followed on previous embarrassment for Sequoia and New Jersey when several machines failed to boot up at all on the morning of the Super Tuesday Election, causing a 45-minute delay for NJ's Governor John Corzine before he was finally able to cast a vote at his polling place in Hoboken.
The very same Sequoia AVC Advantage systems which failed in New Jersey, will be used across Pennsylvania in that state's upcoming --- and rather important --- Primary Election next month.
Sequoia has good reason to be concerned about what may come of an analysis by professors Felten and/or Appel. Both of them have previously detailed major voting machine security flaws, and the ability to easily hack into such systems made by both Sequoia and Diebold Election Systems...