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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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Re-Scan Tests of 260 Initially Rejected Ballots in Disputed Palm Beach Election UN-Rejects Different Numbers of Ballots Each Time They Are Scanned
Same Failed Company Fighting Against Public Disclosure of Similar Problems Today in both Washington D.C. and New Jersey...
By Brad Friedman on 10/3/2008 12:21pm PT  

John Gideon briefly noted what happened in Florida in yesterday's Daily Voting News, but it deserves a bit more attention. A lot more attention, actually.

A recent contested election for Circuit Judge in Palm Beach County, FL, where the initial results showed a 17 vote margin for one of the candidates, continues to reveal differing counts every time the same ballots are run through the county's new optical-scan paper ballot counters made by Sequoia Voting Systems.

Sequoia is one of America's largest private voting machine vendors, and one of its worst (even though we realize such judgements are akin to determing whether Mussolini was worse than Stalin.) Just 30-some days from America's next and likely-largest election ever, the desperate company is under fire today for recent voting system failures in Palm Beach, Washington D.C., and New Jersey.

For the moment, let's look at what was reported out of Palm Beach yesterday, where re-scans of 262 rejected ballots on Sequoia paper-ballot scanners revealed differing results each and every time they were scanned...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2008 3:58pm PT  

Curiouser and curiouser in New Jersey...

The mysteries keep piling up around the Sequoia voting machines used in New Jersey. This time Princeton University computer scientist Ed Felten has uncovered a phantom vote for Obama in summary tapes from three voting machines used in the state's February 5th primary in Pennsauken District 6.

See Kim Zetter's WIRED report for the details, where, incidentally, she notes, "no problem shows up for the Republican primary numbers."

Lots of related stories here at The BRAD BLOG for additional context. Here's the most recent.

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By Brad Friedman on 5/1/2008 1:39pm PT  

Faced with extraordinarily bad press concerning her company's failed voting machines, which a NJ judge has now ordered to be independently examined (decidedly not by the "blonde nymph"-seeking dude Sequoia originally employed for their own "independent examination"), an impending hostile takeover by competitor Hart InterCivic, and her own boss's recent admission that the company doesn't even control the intellectual property rights to its own voting machines, Sequoia Voting Systems VP of Communications & External Affairs (and part owner), Michelle Shafer, has been left fairly desperate to find some "good news" lately with which to try and fool the company's clients.

But Never-Say-Die Shafer doesn't give up the ghost easily. So in a quick, if somewhat sad, bottom-of-the-barrel scraping article posted to her "Ballot Blog" at the Sequoia website this week, she attempted to trumpet the "Keystone State Success" for Sequoia, following last week's PA primary.

"Pennsylvania elections went very well last week," she writes. "We’ve had a chance to check in with our customers in York, Montgomery and Northampton counties, and it looks like it was a successful primary for all of them," blogged Shafer, before going on to quote the "success" of the company's voting systems, as reported by two different PA newspapers.

One selective quote, from one of the papers, sings the praises of Sequoia's AVC Advantage e-voting machines (the same ones which were found to have failed to tabulate votes correctly in NJ's recent Super Tuesday primary), because "Even the older people liked them."

But the same papers Shafer selectively quoted from also offered not-so-wonderful stories about the "success" of the company's machines in Pennsylvania.

Here's what Shafer --- who may as well tattoo a permanent "Kick Me!" sign on her back at this point --- seems to have forgotten to quote, from the very same articles she pointed to, in her blog item about them...

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

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UPDATED WITH EXCLUSIVE NEW DETAILS: Sequoia CEO Jack Blaine Admits Company Does Not Control the Intellectual Property Rights for Sequoia's Voting Machines!
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2008 1:30pm PT  

[UPDATED: Please be sure to see the update, containing exclusive, previously unreported news, added at the bottom of this article.]

The BRAD BLOG learned this morning that a New Jersey judge has today given plaintiffs and Princeton University computer scientists the right to examine the state's Sequoia AVC Advantage touch-screen voting machines which failed to record voter totals accurately, in at least six different counties, during the Garden State's recent Super Tuesday primary.

Sequoia had previously both threatened legal action against the professors, despite a unanimous request from a state association of county election clerks, and attempted to quash the court-ordered subpoenas to have the machines impounded and examined independently.

The Courier-Post confirms this afternoon, and publishes the following account of the Judge's decision today...

A New Jersey judge says voting rights activists should have a chance to examine the programming of touch-screen voting machines.

The order was issued today by Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg in Trenton. She dropped a May trial date on the reliability of the machines but says the trial should start by September.

She has been asked to decide if the state's 10,000 electronic voting machines should be scrapped, as the voting rights advocates contend.

The state of New Jersey says the machines should continue to be used in elections.

The manufacturer of the machines, Sequoia Voting Systems, has resisted efforts to have the machines tested independently.

The BRAD BLOG has covered this (sometimes very amusing) saga in great detail, since it first came to light following the election (and even on Election Day, when machine failure kept the NJ Governor from being able to cast his own vote for 45 minutes).

For those who haven't been able to keep up with it all, a post which quickly recaps the bulk of Sequoia's disgraceful NJ behavior can be read here.

We've also continued to cover (with complete exclusivity, unless someone else in the media cares to join us! Hello?) the saga of beleaguered Sequoia's fight for their very life, as they attempt to fend off a hostile take-over by competitor Hart InterCivic.

IMPORTANT/EXCLUSIVE UPDATE!: AP jumps in with a few more details raising a point which The BRAD BLOG can reveal here for the first time, concerning Sequoia's "intellectual property" rights. Namely, they neither own, nor control them, as admitted recently by the company's own CEO...

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

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Philly Mayor Nutter Says 'No Problems, They Got Me Elected'; PA Gov Rendell Admits He 'Knows Nothing About Them, But They're All Approved by HAVA'
Great Work by Jake Soboroff from Last Night's Dem Debate...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2008 1:46pm PT  

The following video comes fresh from our buddy Jake Soboroff of Why Tuesday? He was at last night's Democratic debate and tried to get some answers from some of the local Democratic public officials on hand --- including Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and PA Governor Ed Rendell --- to see if they had any concerns about the e-voting machines to be used in next week's crucial PA Primary.

Kudos to Jake for asking, just one of the so-many questions (if, arguably, one of the most important) that the Corporate Media, such as ABC News, couldn't even be bothered to dream of, apparently.

Despite the fact that, next week, wholly unverifiable, 100% faith-based e-voting systems will be in use across much of the Keystone State --- including, perhaps most notably, Sequoia's AVC Advantage touch-screens in Montgomery and Northhampton counties, even though very same systems failed so spectacularly in neighboring NJ on Super Tuesday (see this recent BRAD BLOG story for the quick skinny on what happened, and continues to be going on with the NJ/Sequoia failed touch-screen imbroglio) --- the election officials interviewed by Soboroff, in the following quick video recorded just last night, remain utterly and completely clueless.

It's simply amazing...


And folks wonder why the job of restoring Election Integrity in this country is so frickin' hard?!

The above video --- including Nutter's comments that there have been "no problems" with the machines, since, after all, they got him elected, and Rendell's admission that he "knows nothing about them", but that they are "all HAVA approved machines" --- underscores how unbelievably difficult this fight is, and how clueless the very folks needed to help make a change actually are, in this entire fine mess.

Suggestion to Soboroff for next vid: Ask any elected official or election official in PA, or anywhere else, if they can prove that even a single vote --- as cast on any touch-screen machine during any actual election --- has ever been recorded and counted accurately as the voter intended. Just evidence of a single such vote will do. They will not be able to do so. None of them.

UPDATE 4/19/08: The good election integrity champions of VotePA touched base with us concerning our above suggestion to Soboroff to point out that there is one way possible to prove that a touch-screen/DRE counted a vote accurately, as per voter intent, during an actual election. An unusual write-in candidate could be cast, and then checked after the election to see if it was recorded accurately. Therefore, we'll slightly modify our currently suggested challenge above, to any election official, asking for proof of any non-write-in vote having been recorded accurately as per voter intent, as ever cast on a DRE/touch-screen voting machine during an actual election. We've made that challenge for quite a while (minus the "non-write-in" part), and we've yet to receive an iota of proof from any election official, even from those who will tell you that their DRE/touch-screens record votes "accurately".

Truth is, they have nothing to prove their case. Not even a single (non-write-in) vote ever cast. Yet they still claim them to be "accurate" without any such scientific evidence of same. Go figure.

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The State Misleads, Some Counties Change Their Mind, as Sequoia Officials Remain Willing to Say or Do Anything Necessary to Deceive the Public in Hopes of Saving Their Company...
By Brad Friedman on 4/15/2008 12:02pm PT  

-- By Brad Friedman and John Gideon

New Jersey's Department of State, which at the beginning of this month took over all state-wide election duties from the state Attorney General's office, may be celebrating its new duties by sipping down a few glasses of Sequoia Voting Systems-flavored kool-aid in regards to the continuing saga of the Sequoia AVC Advantage touch-screen voting systems which failed during, and after, the state's Super Tuesday primary.

In a press release issued late last week --- which Sequoia was all too happy to selectively feature on its website --- the NJ Dept. of State made a couple of curious, and indeed misleading, announcements. Among them:

We want to stress there is no Court Order requiring any county to release voting machines to the plaintiffs in the Gusciora case.

That, despite the finding of a NJ judge last Tuesday declaring that failed voting machines in some six different counties were to be subpoenaed by plaintiffs and subjected to mandatory independent review in order to determine the reason why at least sixty machines reported voter totals on their end-of-day paper tapes which disagreed with the internal numbers reported by the machines.

After the judge's order last week, Sequoia quickly moved to try and quash the subpeonas [PDF, 82 pages], despite the fact that they are not actually a party to the long-running court battle between the state of NJ and citizen plaintiffs suing them in hopes of getting rid of the touch-screen systems altogether (or, in lieu of that, have paper-trail printers added to them).

As Pennsylvania prepares to use the very same flawed Sequoia AVC Advantage voting machines in next week's crucial primary, we've tried to sort out what is --- and isn't --- going on in this New Jersey mess. We've also tried to determine who is reading the disputed paper tapes correctly, since a Princeton scientist seems to read them one way, while the SoS office and two of the NJ counties (which had originally read them as the Princeton Prof did) have suddenly decided to read them another way.

What we can tell you indisputably, however, is that if it's debatable as to what those paper tapes actually say, then those voting systems are in violation of the federal law which mandates "a permanent paper record with a manual audit capacity" that "shall be available as an official record." If there's a question about what the "paper record" from each machine actually says, than it certainly can't be used as an "official record" for auditing purposes.

To sort out the mess, we've touched base with the plaintiff's attorney in the case, as well as with the NJ SoS. Sequoia's spokesperson, VP and part-owner (for the moment) Michelle Shafer, on the other hand, doesn't seem to want to talk to us anymore for some reason...

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

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Desperate to Stop the Deal, Sequoia's Owners Frantically Seek Funding, Legal Options, All of Which Have so Far Failed Enough to Lead the Judge Working on the Case to Regard One Such Legal Argument as a 'Conspiracy Theory'
Merger of Two Companies Would Likely Create New E-Voting Powerhouse, Face Federal Scrutiny, Come as Surprise to Sequoia's Current Clients...
By Brad Friedman on 4/10/2008 12:55pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman

As if Sequoia Voting Systems doesn't have enough trouble already, the company now needs some $2 million dollars in cash...quickly. Without it, it is likely to be subsumed by one of its nearest competitors, Hart InterCivic of Austin, TX, as soon as next Tuesday, The BRAD BLOG has learned.

In what could well be a major shift on the American election industry landscape --- and certainly on elections themselves in dozens of states across the country --- voting machine company Hart InterCivic informed the current owners of the beleaguered Sequoia of their intention to acquire ownership of the company in a move which could take effect as early as next week.

The attempted hostile takeover --- which, we've learned, has been quietly in the works behind the scenes since mid-February --- has set off a building panic among the senior management and owners at Sequoia, whose money woes had already led them to schedule a shut-down of their Oakland headquarters. That shop is to close within a matter of months, as the operations for the company are to be consolidated at its Denver offices.

The takeover by Hart is made possible in the wake of a deal made by Sequoia's current owners, SVS Holdings, Inc., with its former owners, the off-shore consortium Smartmatic. Smartmatic was forced to give up control of the company after the media and Congress noticed in 2006 that the company had ties to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. The officers and owners of SVS are comprised largely of previous Sequoia officials who took over the company after Smartmatic's failed attempt to find an outside buyer in 2006. The deal resulted in an agreement between SVS and Smartmatic for the latter to hold a $2 million note from the purchase. Smartmatic now appears ready to sell that note to Hart as part of a $16 million dollar deal which SVS has a contractual right to match within a 60-day period, ending on April 15th.

Sequoia is believed by election experts to be this country's third largest voting machine company, followed by Hart. The combined operation, should the takeover be completed, could well create a new powerhouse in the industry, displacing #2 Diebold/Premier, and coming up just behind the country's currently largest election vendor, ES&S.

Court documents obtained by The BRAD BLOG reveal that Hart notified SVS of its intention to purchase the $2 million note held by Smartmatic on February 15th, giving the group of owners and share holders of SVS --- including CEO and President Jack Blaine, and VPs Michelle Shafer and Edwin Smith (whose names BRAD BLOG readers may recognize) --- just 60 days to match the offer Hart had given to Smartmatic. As the deadline nears, Due Dilligence processes have begun, and are near the final phases of completion at Sequoia...whether company management likes it or not.

Hart's move has sent Sequoia/SVS executives into a legal and financial tizzy and --- perhaps taking a page from Hillary Clinton's campaign book --- the company seems to be throwing the legal kitchen sink at both Hart and Smartmatic in an attempt to nullify Hart's offer. Court documents reveal arguments that Hart's is not a "bona fide" offer that SVS is legally required to match. So far, however, those legal maneuvers, reflected by a dizzying array of motions and cross-motions, suits and counter-suits --- completely unreported by anyone in the media until now --- have all been summarily and soundly rejected by the Delaware magistrate adjudicating the matter.

Every legal effort by Sequoia and SVS to dispatch with the hostile takeover attempt has failed miserably so far, leading Vice Chancellor Stephen P. Lamb of the Court of Chancery in Delaware to even describe one such legal theory of SVS' as...(big irony alert!)...a "conspiracy theory"!

But while Sequoia faces a plethora of legal liabilities concerning their oft-failed voting systems, Hart InterCivic faces its own share of challenges with a pending --- and damning --- federal fraud/qui tam suit against the company, as unsealed late last month. Moreover, Hart's acquisition plan could face scrutiny from members of Congress and Treasury Department officials, as well as states across the country who thought they had turned over control of their elections to Sequoia, only to soon learn there will be a new owner, not of their choosing, of the secret software and devices which determine the results of their public elections.

While litigation over claims of fraud and failure in both company's voting systems await, so does at least one major prize to the victor of this grudge match: New York state's soon-to-be-completed $100 million deal with Sequoia...or maybe now with Hart...or...whoever...

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

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Does Anybody Care? Will the EAC or DoJ - or Even State Officials - Take Action Before the November General Election?
Error Rates Found to be MORE THAN 40 THOUSAND PERCENT HIGHER Than Allowed by Law...
By Ellen Theisen on 4/10/2008 7:04am PT  

Guest blogged by Ellen Theisen, VotersUnite.Org

Over two years ago, the U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit against New York State to force the state to comply with the federal requirement to equip every polling place with voting systems that are accessible to people with disabilities, as mandated by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA).

Meanwhile, the DoJ has taken no action at all to stop any state from using voting equipment that has been proven to violate HAVA’s requirement for accurate vote-counting.

While it's important for every citizen, disabled or not, to be able to vote privately, a private vote is meaningless if that vote is not counted accurately. Despite the equal weight HAVA gave to both important mandates, the federal requirement for accurate vote-counting is being wholly ignored by the states, and even the federal government.

Two recent incidents which have been making headlines --- in New Jersey and Ohio --- illustrate clear, undeniable violations of the federal accuracy requirement. They are impossible to deny or ignore. For the moment, however, federal officials are doing exactly that...

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

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New Findings Directly Contradict Company Explanation, Excuse...
By Brad Friedman on 4/5/2008 1:33pm PT  

Princeton computer science professor and now-well known academic hacker of e-voting systems, Ed Felten, reports on his blog...

This week we obtained six new summary tapes, from machines in Bergen and Gloucester counties. Two of these new tapes contradict Sequoia’s explanation and show more serious discrepancies that we saw before.

His article offers the details of the latest findings, but for the disturbing --- and too-often hilarious --- background on this incredible continuing scandal...

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

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And BRAD BLOG Requests your Help...
By Brad Friedman on 3/28/2008 10:15am PT  

Meanwhile, over at tech 'zine InfoWorld, Robert X. Cringely takes notice of BRAD BLOG's exposé from earlier this week, on the man Sequoia Voting Systems is paying to "independently" review their failed AVC Advantage touch-screen machines (the ones that failed in NJ recently, but which are still set for use in the upcoming, crucial PA primary). He was as amused/horrified at whom they'd hired, instead of the actually qualified computer science professors at Princeton University whom Sequoia had threatened with legal action, should they dare a real examination of the company's faulty machines.

Cringely sums up our report succinctly this way...

While I was digging through the Net looking for the skinny on Sequoia Voting Systems and its mystery contractor Kwaidan Consulting (aka Mike Gibbons), the Bradblog's Brad Friedman was doing the same. He managed to unearth a cached version of Gibbons' MySpace page that's just a wee bit different than the current model. Instead of a photo of Gibbons shaking hands with Bush I, this one shows a good-old-boy leaning against the hood of a pickup. The list of people Gibbons wants to meet has changed too. Instead of Jesus, Einstein, and Newton, Gibbons was looking for “a well endowed blonde nymphomaniac ... that likes to be under the influence of Jim Beam whiskey in a dimly lit room at least 3 times a week.” (Hmm, Jesus or a busty nymphomaniac – that's a tough call.) It's nice to know the gatekeepers of our electoral system go shopping for their code experts in New Orleans bordellos.

One small thought in response to the good Cringely here. Sequoia are not the "gate-keepers," they just think they are, and therein lie the problems. He, we, and you are the gate-keepers. And until now, we've failed horribly to keep the crooks and liars --- like the folks at Sequoia and Diebold and ES&S and Hart InterCivic (take a look at that report please Robert, and the stunning complaint downloadable with it!) --- outside of those gates.

By the way, with the crush of other news elsewhere, and even at The BRAD BLOG this week, our rather jaw-dropping report on Gibbons (even if we say so ourselves) was largely overlooked out there by the CMSM and even the blogosphere. These stories --- the embarrassing Gibbons/Kwaidan report, the remarkable federal fraud case against Hart, and all the others here --- don't spread themselves around. Please do not misunderestimate the importance of your DIGGING, REDDIT-ing, and otherwise emailing and linking up to these stories far and wide. Notifying your local media about them (include the URL when you email them), can make all the difference.

We're doing our part, and appreciate whatever hand you can lend in return. It matters.

As we often say, this democracy ain't gonna save itself. And the gates ain't gonna keep themselves, either.

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Meet Mike Gibbons of 'Kwaidan Consulting': Seeking 'Well Endowed Blonde Nymphomaniacs'...Or 'Jesus Christ, Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein,' Depending on Whose Paying...
By Brad Friedman on 3/25/2008 8:02pm PT  

Last week, in the wake of their AVC Advantage touch-screen voting systems having been found to have failed in at least six counties following New Jersey's Super Tuesday Primary, and on the heels of much-deserved ridicule for having threatened Princeton computer scientists with legal action should they go forward with an independent technical review of their voting systems, as requested by NJ election officials, Sequoia Voting systems issued a laughable press release headlined "Sequoia Voting Systems supports third party reviews and testing of its election equipment," which John Gideon appropriately eviscerated for all of the (putting it nicely) "misleading half-truths" therein from the dishonest, desperate folks at Sequoia.

The company, which claims their oft-hacked votings systems (accidental hack here, on purpose hack here) are secure and "tamperproof", subsequently saw their own website ignominiously hacked thereafter late last week.

But, as if the constant predilections of Sequoia VPs Michelle Shafer and Edwin Smith to slap "kick me" signs on their own backs wasn't enough, they then went on to release another statement last Thursday announcing they were commissioning their own "external review" of their own voting systems "that includes review by an independent company," which nobody has ever heard of.

So who is this "Kwaidan Consulting of Houston, Texas," whom the geniuses at Sequoia have selected to carry out their independent, third-party review? You're not gonna be believe this one...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2008 9:59am PT  

Blogged quickly by Brad from Palo Alto, CA...

We can't think of a clever enough turn of phrase this morning to adequately cover the full irony here... Via Computerworld...

A company whose e-voting machines have come under fire from election officials in New Jersey confirmed today that its Web site had been hacked.

A section of Sequoia Voting Systems Inc.'s Web site was hacked overnight, and when the company realized what had happened, it took the site down and removed the "intrusive content," Sequoia spokeswoman Michelle Shafer said via e-mail.

Sequoia made "security enhancements" to protect the site from further hacking, and it was back online this afternoon, Shafer said. The company is investigating the origin of the attack.

Not enough irony yet? Add this...

The hack was noticed Thursday morning by Ed Felten, a computer scientist who has been asked to investigate voting-machine discrepancies in the state's primary election.

Yes, that would be the same Ed Felten, computer science professor of Princeton, who last week was sent a threatening email from a Sequoia executive, warning of legal trouble should he dare examine the Sequoia AVC Advantage touch-screen voting machines which failed in New Jersey's Primary Election in February.

In the wake of this latest PR nightmare for the company, as John Gideon pointed out last night, they've decided to mount a Campaign of Lies instead of simply allowing their "tamperproof" e-voting systems to be examined by a third party. Brilliant strategy, guys. As usual.

The same failed Sequoia touch-screen systems, which have never been tested by any independent third-party, are currently set for use in Pennsylvania's Primary next month. We continue to encourage readers to click here to encourage NJ's AG to immediately commission a complete technical review of NJ's voting machines to determine what went wrong.

Please support The BRAD BLOG's Fund Drive and our continuing coverage of your election system, as found nowhere else. Click here for a number of cool new collector's edition Premium products now available for new contributors!
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By John Gideon on 3/20/2008 6:41pm PT  

By John Gideon VotersUnite.Org

In a press release dated March 18 Sequoia Voting Systems attempted to quench the fire storm that resulted from failures of their voting machines in New Jersey and their subsequent threats of legal action against New Jersey counties and Princeton University scientists if they independently review the problematic voting machines. Unfortunately the press release is full of inaccuracies and obfuscation.

Here are the worst of them...

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

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Legal Threats from Sequoia Voting Systems Force County to Cancel Plans for Independent Analysis of the State's Own Voting System
Livermore Labs Scientist Urges Readers to Contact NJ AG to Ask for Technical Review of Same Flawed Machines Set to be Used Next Month in PA...
By Brad Friedman on 3/18/2008 2:17pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman

Sequoia Voting Systems' legal threats against Princeton computer science professors and New Jersey election officials, as we reported in exclusive detail last night, have apparently had their intended effect.

The strong-arm email sent to professors Ed Felten and Andrew Appel was apparently accompanied by a two-page letter to Union County, New Jersey, Clerk Joanne Rajoppi, who originally discovered a tally failure in Sequoia's AVC Advantage touch-screen voting machines after the February 5th Super Tuesday election. The same error was subsequently discovered in at least five other counties.

Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami-Covello tells the New Jersey Times that Sequoia's decision to block an independent analysis of its touch-screen voting machines makes no sense if the firm is confident that they work properly.

"I think it's unfortunate that they're not letting an independent investigation take place," Sollami-Covello tells the paper this morning. "They should have no problem with having a third party investigate the product if they are confident in their product."

Another Mercer County, NJ, official sent a letter to the state Attorney General criticizing Sequoia's bizarre explanation for failures discovered in the systems following state's recent Primary Election, characterizing what he describes as the company's "strange, confusing solution." He said the company's explanation for the problem, which succeeded in blaming voters and poll workers as usual, was based on a "bizarre scenario, with no cited evidence or testimony" to back it up.

While NJ's state clerks association had voted unanimously to recommend that the Attorney General commission an independent study of the machines --- the same ones which will be used across the state of Pennsylvania in next month's key Democratic Primary Election --- Union County's plan to move forward with their own study has been nixed due to the legal threats sent from Sequoia's VP of "Compliance/Quality/Certification" Edwin Smith, according to a number of New Jersey papers today.

Amazingly (or perhaps, not so much at this point), Union County's attorneys folded to the pressure from the company, which claimed that Election Officials in NJ --- who spent millions on the voting systems --- are not legally allowed to examine them independently because "the voting machine software is a Sequoia 'trade secret' and cannot be handed over to any third-party."

Fear of a lawsuit from Sequoia, which will also control the state's elections in an upcoming June primary, as well as the November general election, has led to county attorneys backing down from their plans for the time being, unless the state AG jumps in to take action.

In the threatening email from Smith to the Princeton professors sent last Friday, as posted here in full last night, the company executive threatened legal action if a "non-compliant analysis" of their voting systems was carried out. "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 warned.

The Star-Ledger reports the latest, almost mind-numbingly incredible, developments in your democracy, now fully and completely in the hands of privatized corporate America, this morning...

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

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VP Edwin Smith Warns Scientists, in Email Obtained by The BRAD BLOG, of Plans to Take 'Appropriate Steps to Protect Against Publication of Software, Its Behavior or Reports Regarding Same'
ALSO: Company Website of One of Nation's Largest Voting Machine Vendors Refers to 'Democrat' [sic] Party in Explanation for Recent Primary Election Failure...
By Brad Friedman on 3/17/2008 6:36pm PT  

-- 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...

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

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