By John Gideon on 10/11/2006, 9:50pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.Org

States and counties are being forced to purchase used, refurbished voting machines. In this segment Kitty talks to an election official and a voter about this practice. As Kitty points out, "the chain of custody for these machines is the real issue. Experts say the machines can be tampered with, and malicious codes inserted, as these machines pass from one jurisdiction to another."


-- Streaming Flash version...

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

PILGRIM: New worries tonight about e-voting. States are buying used voting machines. And activists are concerned that these machines are not properly certified. And, once again, the machines undergo upgrades. They may no longer meet state standards.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM (voice-over): The worries over electronic voting are compounded by the fact that several states are having to install used machines that were refurbished for this election.

Election officials in Tennessee are struggling to get the electronic voting equipment they need. The chairman of Davidson County Election Commission says they ordered 619 machines from ES&S, but later needed 100 more.

He says ES&S could not provide 100 new machines right away. But the company said they could send refurbished used machines from Pennsylvania for the early voting in coming weeks.

EDDIE BRYAN, CHAIRMAN, DAVIDSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE, ELECTION COMMISSION: In the first, we were going to get all refurbished machines. And we complained so much that they ended up sending us the 619 which are new machines, and the other 100 are from Pennsylvania.

PILGRIM: ES&S says the machines are fine: "We provided 619 new iVotronics, in keeping with our contractual agreement with Davidson County. In addition, we provided the county with another 100 touch- screen machines, all of which have been thoroughly tested and meet rigorous standards for accuracy."

But Tennessee isn't the only state using hand-me-downs. Overhauled e-voting machines were also used in recent Pennsylvania election in Bucks County and Allegheny County and several others.

COLLIN LYNCH, CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY: We, as voters, really don't know what's going on inside those machines at any time, whether they came direct from the factory or from some other state. We don't know. And the companies are not really permitting anyone to check.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: Now, the chain of custody for these machines is the real issue. Experts say the machines can be tampered with, and malicious codes inserted, as these machines pass from one jurisdiction to another.