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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Mysterious Ballots Flip Maine Senate Recount Result From Democratic to Republican
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Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


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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Post-Super Tuesday Canvass Reveals Discrepancies Between Internal Printouts and Memory Cartridges on DRE Systems in Five Separate Counties
Same 'Tamperproof' Machines Recently Hacked by Princeton University Professor, Also Failed to Start Up Properly on Election Day...
By John Gideon on 2/20/2008 2:45pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.Org

The Newark Star-Ledger is reporting that New Jersey election officials have found a discrepancy in the state's Primary Election results as reported on the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines used on Super Tuesday. Voter totals reported by the internal paper tapes on their Sequoia AVC Advantage DRE in a number of counties are failing to match up with totals found on the memory cartridges, used for both ballot definition and results storage, on the same machines, according to the report today...

As Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi tried to verify returns in this month's historic presidential primary, she kept coming up with errors for a handful of voting machines.

The numbers from the cartridges that print out vote tallies and the paper-tape backup within the machine didn't match. Rajoppi asked her colleagues in other counties to perform the same test, and similar problems were found in voting machines for Bergen, Gloucester, Middlesex and Ocean counties.

Problems with Sequoia's AVC Advantage systems also emerged early on the morning of Super Tuesday, forcing a 45 minute delay for the state's Governor, who was unable to cast his vote when the machines failed to boot up on Election Day. In February of last year, the same machines were hacked by a Princeton University Professor after he'd been able to purchase a number of the $8000 systems for just $86 apiece on the Internet.

The Star-Ledger today goes on to report some of the details on the latest failures now emerging in New Jersey during the state's post-election canvassing...

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

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One Unverifiable Touch-Screen Machine Finally Fixed, No Provisional Ballots Available at Polling Place, Voters Turned Away
UPDATE: Right on Schedule, Officials Blame Pollworkers for Error | FURTHER UPDATE: Vote Flips from Obama to Clinton Reported in NJ as Well...
By John Gideon on 2/5/2008 6:26am PT  

Blogged on the fly by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org

The Associated Press is reporting that the two Sequoia AVC Advantage touch-screen voting machines at the Hoboken Fire Department Engine Company No. 2 on Washington Street would not work for about 45 minutes as the polls opened this morning. This polling place just happens to be the location where New Jersey Governor John Corzine votes, or was at least scheduled to at 6:15am. He was unable to cast his vote until 7:00am according to the reports.

AP notes that several voters were turned away this morning until they were able to get one of the machines working. Fox "News" reported earlier that there were no provisional ballots at the poll site, so voters had no choice but to wait for the machines to be fixed or to choose not to vote at all.

Update by Brad Friedman flying in...

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

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60% of Lyndhurst's Republican County Committee Also Will Switch to Dems...
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2007 4:07pm PT  

Sign of the times?...

In a rare shift in party affiliation, the entire membership of the all-Republican governing body in Lyndhurst will switch from Republican to Democrat tomorrow. Nearly 60% of Lyndhurst’s Republican County Committee will become Democrats too.

The party realignment, first reported in PoliticsNJ.com last summer, is far greater in scope than speculated. It represents, perhaps, the most massive shift in Party affiliation of elected and Party officials in a single community in one day. “It’s safe to say something like this certainly doesn’t happen in politics everyday,” said Lyndhurst Mayor Richard DiLascio.

Lyndhurst has long been considered a swing town in general elections over the last twenty years.

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Gives the State Eight Days To Find An Alternative To Touch-Screen Voting Machines
Ruling in Holt's Home State Disallows the Very Voting Machines His Federal Bill Would Institutionalize!
By John Gideon on 9/5/2007 12:22pm PT  

Just announced this morning and reported by The New Jersey Star-Ledger is the news that a state judge has given the state Attorney General eight days to report an alternate means of voting to the state's 10,000 touch-screen machines.

The ruling undoubtedly comes as an embarrassment to Congressman Rush Holt of New Jersey, who has been championing an Election Reform bill in the U.S. House that would allow for the very voting systems the judge in his own state has now disallowed.

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

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Since the EAC Refuses to Notify Them, We Hope You Will...
By Brad Friedman on 4/16/2007 4:32pm PT  

A commenter over at DU asked which states used the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting system found vulnerable to an undetectable countywide vote-flipping virus which can be implanted by a single person, as we reported this morning.

Based on our quick review of a county-by-county database of voting systems, sorted by state, as made available by Common Cause (EXCEL spreadsheet downloadable here) just prior to the November 2006 elections, it looks like the answer is 16 states in total.

Since the EAC refuses, as our report detailed, to do their job in notifying Elections Officials about this incredibly serious vulnerability, it looks like it's up to you to notify your state's Secretary of State and/or county Election Officials! Details on the vulnerability and mitigating steps that may be taken are detailed in this brief report at VotersUnite.org as written by a computer scientist and voting system expert well familiar with the newly discovered flaw. Please refer your voting officials to both our original article, and that scientific report for more details at the following URLs:

The states which use the ES&S iVotronic affected (with firmware versions either 8 or 9, with or without a so-called "Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail") are as follows:

  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Missouri
  • New jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

If we've missed any, or any of the states above do not use the system in at least one county, please let us know and we'll amend the list.

The BRAD BLOG and You - Doing the EAC's job for them. But without the $15 million budget (or the incomprehensible incompetence).

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New Jersey Attorney to Ask Judge for Decertification of Company's 'AVC Advantage' System After Machines Found Untested by State
Princeton Professor Paid $86 For Online Purchase of 5 Machines That a NJ County Paid $40,000 for...
By John Gideon on 2/10/2007 10:52pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, with additional reporting by Brad Friedman

"We can take a version of Sequoia's software program and modify it to do something different --- like appear to count votes, but really move them from one candidate to another. And it can be programmed to do that only on Tuesdays in November, and at any other time. You can't detect it," Princeton's Professor of Computer Science Andrew Appel explains in New Jersey's Star-Ledger today.

Like Diebold's touch-screen machines before them, Sequoia's voting machines have now been found to be hackable in seconds by a Princeton University professor who says the systems could be "easily...rigged to throw an election." Someone may wish to let the folks in Riverside County, CA, know since County Supervisors there recently issued a "thousand to one" bet that their Sequoia voting systems couldn't be manipulated.

In the same report, it was revealed that an attorney has filed suit, claiming the Sequoia AVC Advantage Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines used in 18 of New Jersey's 21 counties were never reviewed by the state before they were improperly certified for use and that Princeton's Appel was able to acquire five Sequoia voting machines for only $86. The same machines were recently purchased by the state for $8,000 apiece.

According to the Star-Ledger...

[Attorney Penny] Venetis filed legal papers Friday claiming the state never certified some 10,000 Sequoia AVC Advantage machines as secure or reliable as required by law.

"There is zero documentation --- no proof whatsoever --- that any state official has ever reviewed Sequoia machines," Venetis, co-director of the Rutgers Constitutional Litigation Clinic, said in an interview. "This means you cannot use them. ... These machines are being used to count most of the votes in the state without being tested in any way, shape or form."

Venetis argues that the state certification is in violation of NJ state law which says such systems must "correctly register and accurately count all votes cast," be "of durable construction" to be used "safely, efficiently, and accurately."

The lack of documentation and testing, however, is hardly the only problem, as reported by the paper today. "Had the machines been tested," Election Integrity advocates have found, "they would have proved to be a hacker's dream."

Princeton Computer Science Professor Andrew Appel revealed that he bought 5 of the Advantage voting machines from an on-line government equipment clearinghouse for a total of $86. Virtually identical machines were bought in 2005 by Essex County New Jersey for $8,000 per machine.

"Appel had to submit only minimal personal information and a cashier's check to close the deal," the Star-Ledger reports. He and his team then put the 5 machines to good use...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 1/2/2007 9:57pm PT  

New signs of intelligent life discovered in New Jersey. According to AP...

TRENTON --- New Jersey should abolish its death penalty and replace it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, according to a special commission’s report sent Tuesday to Gov. Jon S. Corzine and legislators.

The report, obtained by The Associated Press, found no compelling evidence that New Jersey’s death penalty, which has not been used in more than four decades, serves any purpose. It also found the death penalty costs taxpayers more than paying for prisoners to serve life terms without parole.

“There is increasing evidence that the death penalty is inconsistent with evolving standards of decency,” the report states.
...
The findings, authored by a 13-member commission created in late 2005 by the Legislature, found abolishing the death penalty would eliminate the danger of executing an innocent person and the risk of the punishment being unfairly implemented.

“The alternative of life imprisonment in a maximum security institution without the possibility of parole would sufficiently ensure public safety and address other legitimate social and penological interests, including the interests of the families of murder victims,” the report found.
...
Celese Fitzgerald, director of New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, praised the findings.

“I’m pleased that the commission found what the evidence has stated for two decades,” she said, “that the death penalty is an outdated, risky, resource-straining hoax on victims’ families and should be abolished.”

And, oh yes, it's also immoral. For those who care about such things, in any case.

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PLUS: Sequoia's Spokehole Lies Again and Rush Holt Disappoints...
By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2006 2:41am PT  

At a panel discussion this week at Rutgers University, an unusually frank admission was made by an Elections Official. Then, less surprisingly, a Voting Machine company spokesperson told a lie. And finally, Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) made a disappointing admission. All according to a report in New Jersey's Herald News.

New Jersey's Passaic County Clerk Karen Brown admitted --- out loud --- at the forum that she has no way to prove votes are counted accurately as reported by her Sequoia DRE [Direct Recording Electronic] touch-screen voting systems, since they employ proprietary software which she has no access to. Even after the election was certified, she expressed reservations:

"How do I prove that all of the votes have been counted properly? How do we determine whether the software is working properly?" Brown asked. "We have to rely on the vendor and their software."

We're happy to see another honest Election Official make herself heard and making a point we've been trying to make here for some time nonetheless. Such officials who tell the truth, out loud, are a far too-rare breed.

But there were problems in Brown's county. Amongst them, two voting districts where results where transferred electronically from the precinct to the clerk's office and the tallies failed to match the vote totals as reported by the machines.

Naturally, the spokeshole from Sequoia refused to take responsibility...For anything...

Michelle Shafer, a Sequoia spokeswoman, said that the company was not the manufacturer of the technology that transmitted the results to the county clerk's office and therefore could not vouch for its performance.

...Before going on to simply lie to the reporter with a few chestnuts or two, circa 2005, which have long since been discredited...

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

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Another 'Snafu' Failure Allowed Election Clerks to Access Results Throughout Election Day...
By Brad Friedman on 11/13/2006 9:35am PT  

From the Ocean City Observer...

TOMS RIVER — All of the electronic voting machines used in the mid-term election in Ocean County will be rechecked Tuesday after a suspected "software glitch" counted 75 votes in both Barnegat and Lakewood for state and county candidates.
...
Although the Sequoia electronic machines were used in 18 of the state's largest counties and in many states across the country Tuesday, Gilmore said the only "glitch" reported to the company he was aware of was the one involving the Lakewood and Barnegat vote totals.
...
But Lakewood Rabbi Yisroel Schenkolewski, a Republican commissioner on the board, wants the version of the software used this year fixed if it is found to be to blame for the double counting of the Barnegat votes.

During the probe that led to the recheck request, he said the Election Board staff found that municipal clerks could have accessed the results before they were processed by the Board of Elections.

"That part scares me more than the first part," he said.

We wonder if he's equally scared --- or has even been made aware by the Sequoia Voting Systems people --- that the Sequoia Advantage touch-screen system his county uses is the same machine shown at the beginning of the HBO Hacking Democracy documentary to be flipping vote after vote from a Republican candidate to a Democratic candidate.

Or if he's concerned that Sequoia's other touch-screen model, the "Edge", gives voters the "edge" by offering the opportunity to vote as many times as they want, over and over again, just by pressing "the yellow button" as The BRAD BLOG revealed during the week prior to the election.

We wonder what else Sequoia has failed to inform the Ocean County Board of Elections about concerning their crappy voting systems.

Barnegat was among five communities with razor thin margins among candidates for local office, but those races were apparently not impacted by the suspected software, according to board members.

Gilmore said he expects recounts in all five communities. In addition to Barnegat they are Tuckerton, Seaside Park, South Toms River, and Lavallette.

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While We Continue to Connect the Dots the Media Continues to Fail To...
By John Gideon on 4/23/2006 4:25pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon,
Exec. Dir. for VotersUnite.Org & Info. Mgr. for VoteTrustUSA.Org

It is a fact that this primary season is proving to be a disaster.

The locomotives of the voting machine vendors and unwary, naive elections officials are headed down the same tracks, straight towards each other, in many states. The vendors only have the bags of government provided cash in sight and they don't seem to care about anything but putting those bags into their coffers. They don't seem to care about signing contracts that they know they cannot meet. They seem to be under the impression that "act now and apologize later" is good business. They seem to understand that the only criteria for getting paid for contracts with the government is having signed the contract.

As for the elections officials well, they are blinded by the lights of the fast approaching locomotive and many can only apologize and cover for the vendors. They just don't seem to know, or care --- or acknowledge that they either know or care --- that the same story is playing out in the next county over and in the next state over. Ignorance is supposed to be bliss, but it also spells chaos for elections.

But wait, all may not be lost. This past week we have seen a bit of progress toward stopping the chaos of ES&S in Indiana and Oregon, while West Virginia just doesn't seem to know or care what is happening to them. As well, New Jersey may be making headway against their bad acting vendor, Sequoia Voting Systems...

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

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