Logic and Accuracy Test of The County's Sequoia Machines Fails
By John Gideon on 8/22/2006, 5:11pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Tonight Kitty Pilgrim reports that Pinellas Co.'s voting machines passed Logic and Accuracy (L&A) Tests until a Sequoia Voting Systems technician changed some software. A subsequent test failed so the county changed the software back and re-did the test successfully. There was no report as to what caused the problem or why Sequoia tried to install software that was, very apparently, unnecessary; or was it?

The text-transcript of tonight's segment on Lou Dobbs Tonight follows in full...

More painful lessons could be in store for voting districts that use e-voting. The machines are tested for accuracy before an election, but in Florida, one series of tests only raised new fears.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM (voice-over): Pinellas County, Florida wanted to make sure its Sequoia electronic voting machines were tested and ready for the September 5th primary. They ran a controlled test knowing what the results should be. Initially, they got the correct results, but after a Sequoia technician modified the database, supposedly to upgrade it, the machines failed the next test.

LINDA MCGEEHAN, LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS: My concern is if --- this was controlled results going in. They knew what the results were. They programmed it in. They knew what the results were going to be, and so you could compare it to something. But in an actual election, there's no controlled result. So you don't know what it's going to be. How would you know if it's incorrect or not?

PILGRIM: The modification was reversed and the system passed yet another test. According to county officials, the 3,800 machines will read almost 1,200 different ballot configurations for this election alone. The complexity of the election begs for answers.

DAVID DILL, VERIFIEDVOTING. ORG: We don't really know what happened there. I'm glad that they do fairly thorough logic and accuracy testing. As I mentioned, some places don't do that, which is just an absolute invitation to disaster. On the other hand, the observers who were present still don't have answers as to exactly what happened.

PILGRIM: Since the machines don't have a voter verified paper trail, a problem could go undetected.

BILL BUCOLO, VOTING INTEGRITY ALLIANCE: In a case of a problem with an election, there's no way to recount the vote, because there's nothing to count.

PILGRIM: Sequoia said the software technician working with the database is stranded during testing, and they stand by the results of their machines.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: The county also stands by their testing results and says it has no fears about accuracy. Early voting is already underway. But voter watchdog groups fear without a paper trail it's impossible to know if the results are accurate.