Considering Riverside County, CA, was the first in the nation to purchase Sequoia Voting Systems' malfunctioning, unsecure touch-screen voting machines for county-wide use in 2000, and that the county's Board of Supervisors were once the most ardent supporters of the company --- one of the Supes even going so far as to foolishly bet "1000 to 1" that the system couldn't be hacked --- the latest news from Riverside, no doubt, comes as a very bitter pill for the failing voting machine company.
And better still, the county now has a golden opportunity to restore its reputation by leading the nation in bringing accountability to the real villains in this regrettable saga.
"Riverside Co. Pulls Plug on Electronic Voting" read the headline of one of the local news reports after Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting where they wisely voted against throwing good money after bad.
The Board refused to authorize $500,000 for uncertified Sequoia optical scan voting machines, as recommended by the county's Sequoia-lovin' Registrar of Voters Barbara Dunmore, in order to replace their recently decertified Sequoia touch-screen systems which had previously been purchased (twice!) for some $27 million.
"I will not vote for another dime to go to Sequoia," said Supervisor Roy Wilson, finally catching on, according to the report from KESQ....
"We bought two systems from this company and spent millions of dollars, and I'm not going to vote that another dime be spent on this," Wilson is quoted as saying in the Press-Enterprise coverage.
That the Supes in Riverside --- even Jeff "1000 to 1" Stone --- seem to finally be wising up to the fact that they've been scammed by Sequoia for years is a tribute to the temerity and persistence of Tom Courbat and the other terrific Election Integrity Advocates of SAVE R VOTE in the county. Speaking up at each weekly meeting of the Board, issuing reports after every election, producing press releases and developing relationships with the local and national media, they are role models for EI Advocates and citizen oversight in every county in the nation.
As to the mess Riverside --- Sequoia's largest customer in California --- now finds itself in and the quibbling over the half a million dollars needed to replace systems they'd previously spent $27 million on, might we suggest the county attempt to get back at least that much from the folks who ripped 'em off in the first place: Sequoia Voting Systems.
A quick perusal through CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen's Decertification docs for the Sequoia system [PDF] offers perhaps all of the evidence that any self-respecting judge would need in order to see that the tax-payers of Riverside County had been had. Big time.
No kidding. Go read that document. It speaks to startling security vulnerabilities, and more damningly, bald-faced misrepresentations about the voting systems' security given by company representatives themselves to the Secretary of State.
Not all the Riverside Supervisors have stopped chugging the Sequoia Kool-Aid however. Supervisor Bob Buster, (who has apparently failed to read the document recommended above) continued his vigorous and embarrassing defense of the company's failed touch-screen systems at Tuesday morning's meeting. The North County Times report would indicate that he's still missing the point completely.
In dead-ender defense of the now decertified touch-screen systems, Buster said, according to the North County Times report, "What we're talking about is hypothetical risk here, which is ... far less than the problems we've seen with the absentee system in this county."
And thus Mr. Buster accidentally hits the nail on the head. At least he's seen the problems with the absentee system in his county. He'll never be able to see the problems with the invisible electronic ballots on Sequoia's touch-screen voting machines.
Fortunately, there now seem to finally be enough non-ostriches on the Board to outvote Buster. At least for the moment. Dunmore, who's never seen a Sequoia product she didn't like, saw her proposal to gamble more money on her friends at the company voted down 3 to 2 on Tuesday.
In 1999, Riverside had hoped to be a model for the nation, with its brand, spanking new election technology.
In 2007, the county now has the opportunity to make amends for that ill-conceived vision by becoming a model for the nation again --- but this time for real --- in holding one of the top perpetrators of the nation's e-voting scam accountable for their knowing, systematic, and massive defrauding of tax-payer dollars.
Where Riverside's Board of Supervisors and election system once verged on becoming a national laughingstock, they now have the opportunity to begin bringing accountability for the damage done. It is Sequoia, not the county, that would and should join its birds of a feather at Diebold to become the nation's laughingstock.
The Riverside County Board of Supes now hold it within their power to set that record straight. If they need any help or advice or encouragement or suggestions for attorneys to help, our lines are always open. We're sure they know our number by now.