FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
New Computer Voting System is Open Invitation to Fraud
Riverside County Voters Wonder if Their Votes Count
(Riverside, CA) Beginning with the 2000 elections, the voters in Riverside County, CA, have cast their votes using a computer touch-screen voting system manufactured by Sequoia-Pacific, a subsidiary of Jefferson Smurfit Group, headquartered in Dublin, Ireland.This Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) type voting system has no actual paper ballots. There is no way to verify that the system records and counts the votes as the voters cast them. In the event of a close election, there are no conventional ballots to recount. And all votes are “counted” by a computer program which is “proprietary,” closing the doors to independent analysis of the source code to see how it actually does – or does not – count the votes.
A recent report by Caltech and MIT computer experts summarized the concerns of Riverside County voters:
A Provocative Scenario: A programmer at SlickVotingMachines Corp. adds malicious code to a DRE (Direct Recording Electronic device) machine for the California 2004 Presidential election, so that every fiftieth vote for a Republican candidate is changed to a vote for the corresponding Democratic candidate. This only happens when the machine is in “real” mode as opposed to “test” mode, so the election officials never discover the fraud during their testing. The electronic audit trail made by the DRE machine is also affected, so “recounts” never discover anything amiss.
( http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/nr/2001/VTP_report2.pdf )
After comprehensive research of this situation, concerned voters here have formed a non-partisan Political Action Committee, Election Guardians (EGPAC) to guard the integrity of the voting process, beginning with the restoration of a paper ballot system that will keep the counting of ballots transparent and observable, to clearly show the voters’ intent.With support from the PAC, Coachella Valley resident Susan Marie Weber has filed suit in Federal Court seeking an injunction against this non-public, unobservable voting system.
In her complaint, Weber quotes Constitutional Scholar Lawrence Tribe, of Harvard Law School:
“More and more people are dropping out of the voting process,” Weber said. “They don’t feel that their votes count. This voting system makes it even more difficult to believe that our voices are being heard.”
In Westberry v. Sanders, 376 U.S. 1, 17 (1964), the Court testified to the fundamental character of the right to vote: “No right is more precious in a free country than that of having a choice in the election of those who make the laws under which, as good citizens, they must live. Other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the right to vote is undermined.”
Election Guardians is online at www.electionguardians.org. A copy of the federal lawsuit is posted on the EGPAC website.
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