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By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2006 6:37pm PT  

From today's St. Petersburg Times...

When Cook tried to vote for himself, the machine defaulted to a vote for Taylor. A precinct worker finally moved Cook to a different booth.

Later in the day, Cook said he had other reports of voting machines malfunctioning in similar ways.

The flipping machines used in the Pinellas County, FL election were paperless touch-screens made by Sequoia Voting Systems --- the same paperless "Edge" touch-screen systems whose purchase and future use in New Mexico was recently banned in the state in light of a lawsuit where many voters complained of the same type of "vote flipping" on the machines during the 2004 Presidential Election.

Those are also the same machines which lost more than 12,000 votes in Bernalillo County, NM in 2002.

On the other hand, this is Florida, after all. So, as Pinellas County, FL Supervisor of Elections communications director, Nancy Whitlock says, there's nothing to worry about:

No one else complained, so it is unlikely the problem affected many, if any, other votes, she said.

We feel much better now. It was just "a glitch."

(Hat tip John Gideon! See today's 'Daily Voting News' from John for much more, including fresh e-voting disasters in Texas and everywhere else!)

ReddIt this story!



SoS Decides It Will Be Better To Wait For The Court To Make A Decision
By John Gideon on 1/6/2006 2:51pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

According to a January 3 article on VoteTrustUSA, Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron delayed the purchase of 800 Sequoia Edge touch screen voting machines that some New Mexico counties had chosen to meet federal accessibility requirements.

On January 5 Voter Action amplified and corrected the statements of the Secretary. In their press release, Voter Action said:

"The Secretary of State has said the reason to buy the Sequoia AVC Edge touchscreen voting machines is to make voting easier for disabled voters, as required by the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA). In fact, the Edge machines fail to accommodate the disabled or meet HAVA requirements, as shown in a powerful and detailed expert affidavit filed by the plaintiffs. In addition, the machines lack printers to produce voter verifiable and auditable paper ballots, as required by the New Mexico Election Code, and do not accurately record and count votes, as required by the New Mexico Constitution. To the contrary, the Sequoia Edge voting system has a record of losing thousands of votes, switching votes, and failing to record votes cast in Spanish."

NOTE: There is presently NO Sequoia voting system that meets the presently in force voting systems standards. The best that Sequoia can do is to meet standards that are 15 years old. Today this reporter called the Election Assistance Commission and I was told that Sequoia has nothing close to federal qualification at this time. This means that counties who have purchased their voting machines on the promise of being compliant by January 1, 2006 cannot meet the Help America Vote Act of 2002 accessibility mandates.

ReddIt this story!



19 NM counties agree that Sequoia DREs should not be used by their voters
By John Gideon on 12/21/2005 3:04pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VoteTrustUSA.org

Last month The BRAD BLOG reported on an important lawsuit underway in New Mexico. We can now report that a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) has been filed and that plaintiffs have been added to the suit.

Today, attorneys for Patricia Rosas Lopategui, et al. and against Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron, et al. filed a temporary restraining order asking District Judge Eugenio Mathis for an emergency order blocking the Secretary of State from spending millions of dollars on Sequoia AVC Edge touch screen voting machines for use in Bernalillo, Dona Ana, Santa Fe and 11 other counties. According to their press release VoterAction, the group who is providing support to the attorneys and the plaintiffs in this case, says:

The plaintiffs allege that the machines are not accessible by disabled voters and violate a state law requirement for voter verifiable paper trail printers, necessary for meaningful audits and recounts. Plaintiffs also submitted substantial evidence that the Sequoia touchscreen voting systems are inaccurate and unreliable, having lost thousands of votes and switched countless others in recent elections.

As a part of their case, plaintiffs submitted the affidavit of Noel Runyan, an expert on the design of disabled access devices. Mr. Runyan, who is blind, gave this harsh assessment:

In my opinion, the Sequoia AVC Edge DRE does not satisfy the disability access requirements of HAVA, as incorporated into New Mexico law. This opinion is based on (1) the Edge's complete lack of any accommodation for persons with severe physical dexterity impairments who are unable to use touchscreens or keypads; (2) the gross inadequacy of the Edge's audio assist feature for persons who are blind or low vision; and (3) the Edge's failure to accommodate elderly voters who have developed severe visual impairments with age but are unfamiliar with and unable to cope with audio-only access technology because they have had normal vision most of their lives. In short, it is my opinion that a large portion of disabled citizens who attempt to cast their votes on Sequoia AVC Edge voting machines will be unable to do so.

The work done by these attorneys has already begun to reap benefits outside of the state of New Mexico as attorneys in other states have begun asking for advice and assistance. VoterAction has a copy of the filing and all attached exhibits posted on their website.

ReddIt this story!



Kept From Inspecting Voting Machines as Promised
Process So Far Has Revealed Votes Changed from One Candidate to Another, Disappearing All Together...
By Brad Friedman on 11/12/2005 5:19pm PT  

We've failed to report too terribly much on it to date, but there is a very important lawsuit quietly proceeding in New Mexico which is challenging the results of the 2004 Presidential Election there. The final result of that election was very close, and Election Reform advocates --- and indeed a great deal of evidence --- suggest that something was amiss there. Michael Collins wrote a good article about the suit a couple of weeks ago for New Zealand's SCOOP.

Yesterday, VoterAction.org sent out an email about some roadblocks that the plaintiffs are suddenly facing in the discovery phase of the trial. They were supposed to have been allowed to have experts inspect --- for the first time --- the Electronic Voting Machines that were used in the '04 Election, along with the actual results that they gave.

All of a sudden, Voter Action says, the county clerks have flat-out refused to permit the inspections by the plaintiffs' experts. That, after some interesting evidence has already been found by the experts during discovery, like tests where they were able to see votes for one candidate being registered for their opponent (as has been so widely reported as happening in so many elections of late!) and ballots being confirmed with NO choice for President at all, which wasn't supposed to have been possible on at least one of the machine types being looked at.

Voter Action didn't post the article from their email on their website, so we'll post it here in its entirety. Check it out...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

ReddIt this story!



'Election Center' Becomes Latest Election Reform Group to Have Sold Their Souls to Diebold
Credibility Matters
By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2005 4:02pm PT  

Something stinks to high heaven about these people and their new report. And not simply because they're based in Houston, TX, (though it certainly doesn't help their case) but the fact that they are directly funded by Voting Machine companies such as Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia immediately destroys any credibility they might have otherwise had when it comes to making decisions about our Electoral System in desperate need of reform.

ElectionCenter.org claims to be a non-profit, non-partisan, professional organization of Elections Workers. Today, they have released a new report [large PDF] with recommendations on how to improve America's Electoral System.

The AP covered the new report in a story yesterday which shines a fairly positive light on it yet manages to include a couple of paragraphs which jump out as huge red flags. Here's a couple of them from the AP story [emphasis added]...

In a new, sweeping report, state and local officials focus much of their attention on voters and poll workers rather than voting machines --- the subject of so much debate ever since the 2000 presidential stalemate in Florida.
...
The report also urges state legislators to consider an "independently verifiable" record of each voter's ballot from ATM-style touchscreen voting machines that could be electronic, video or some other form --- pointedly downplaying a widespread push for paper receipts from touchscreens.
...
The Election Center has come in for criticism after reports that the nonprofit, nonpartisan group accepts contributions from voting machine manufacturers. Two members of the task force are former local election administrators who've formed their own election-related businesses.

So here we have yet another "nonprofit, nonpartisan" organization dedicated to Election issues, who have a clear conflict of interest due to their financial alliance with the Voting Machine Companies instead of the American Citizens whose interests they claim to represent.

Unlike the now-discredited "American Center for Voting Rights", a phony front group founded by GOP operatives as a smokescreen for real Election Reform issues, Election Center has been around for a number of years. But their claims that their mission is to "improve service to voters, the public, the taxpayers and to government" is completely belied by the companies they keep...or that keep them...

Here's a screenshot of the agenda from their upcoming August "National Conference" in Beverly Hills/Hollywood. It will likely tell you all you need to know about this group:

A few Googles of the various election officials associated with this organization and their new report should answer any other questions you may have. These people (folks like Palm Beach's Theresa LePore and Los Angeles' Conny McCormack to name just a few) are certainly not in the business of fighting for the voters' best interests.

Suffice to say, if Election Center expects any recognition for their recommendations for Electoral Reform from the Election Reform community, perhaps they should have thought of that before selling that option off to Diebold and friends.

ReddIt this story!



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