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Sarasota Voting Machines Insecure PDF  | Print |  Email
Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
By Ed Felten, Princeton University   
February 24, 2007

This article was posted at Ed Felten's blog "Freedom to Tinker" and is reposted here with permission of the author.


The technical team commissioned by the State of Florida to study the technology used in the ill-fated Sarasota election has released its report. (Background: on the Sarasota election problems; on the study.


One revelation from the study is that the iVotronic touch-screen voting machines are terribly insecure. The machines are apparently susceptible to viruses, and there are many bugs a virus could exploit to gain entry or spread:

We found many instances of [exploitable buffer overflow bugs]. Misplaced trust in the election definition file can be found throughout the iVotronic software. We found a number of buffer overruns of this type. The software also contains array out-of-bounds errors, integer overflow vulnerabilities, and other security holes. [page 57]

The equation is simple: sloppy software + removable storage = virus vulnerability. We saw the same thing with the Diebold touchscreen voting system.

Sequoia Makes Like Diebold And Gets Hacked By Princeton PDF  | Print |  Email
Sequoia Voting Systems
By John Gideon,   
February 11, 2007

A New Jersey Attorney Will Ask A Judge To Decertify Sequoia AVC Advantage Machines


A Princeton Professor Paid $86 For What A NJ County Paid $40,000 For


In a report in Sunday's The Star-Ledger [NJ] it was revealed that Sequoia AVC Advantage Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines used in 18 of New Jersey's 21 counties were improperly certified for use by the state.

[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."

At the same time 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 apiece.

Diebold Moves into the Georgia SoS Office PDF  | Print |  Email
By Roxanne Jekot,   
December 22, 2006

This article was posted at Peach Pulpit. It is reposted with permission of the author.

So, those of us who have been watching the Diebold Debacle since 2001, are not at all surprised at today's developments as reported in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

You see, we fully expected one of the "Cathy's" to leave office and go to work for Diebold. I bet on Cathy Cox, but we knew the potential was there for the Kathy (with a K) Rogers as well. They were walking advertisements for Diebold all along.

It turns out that it is Kathy (with a K) Rogers as reported in today's Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Kathy Rogers, director of the secretary of state's elections division, resigned Nov. 30 and has accepted a job with Diebold Election Systems, manufacturer of Georgia's voting machines, according to several state officials.  Rogers apparently will serve as a liaison between elections officials throughout the United States and Diebold.
But, it gets better..........
Team of Computer Scientists To Review ES&S iVotronic Source Code PDF  | Print |  Email
Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
December 22, 2006

Download the FSU Review Team Statement of Work


The Florida Secretary of State has assembled a team of computer scientists, led by Florida State University, to review the source code of the ES&S iVotronics used in Sarasota’s disputed election last month. These machines failed to register a vote for either Congressional candidate for over 16% of the voters that used them in early voting and on Election Day. After initially refusing to allow any review of their source code, ES&S has relented and agreed to the Florida State review.

The review team, led by FSU computer scientist Alec Yasinsac, includes David Wagner of the University of California Berkeley, Ed Felten of Princeton Univeristy, Michael Shamos of Carnegie Mellon University, Matt Bishop of the Univeristy of California Davis, along with two other Florida State professors.


Republican Vern Buchanan has been declared the winner of the election by an official margin of 369 votes. In addition to the legal challenge in state court, Democrat Christine Jennings has filed an election contest with the U.S. House of Reporesentatives. A separet legal challenge on behalf of Sarasota county voters has been launched by VoterAction, People For the American Way Foundation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida.

Potential buyers can cast lot with Sequoia Voting Systems PDF  | Print |  Email
Sequoia Voting Systems
By Ian Hoffman and Barbara Grady   
December 22, 2006

Oakland-based firm to be sold due to a hostile environment


This article appeared on It is reposted with permission.

Citing a hostile environment for foreign ownership of U.S. infrastructure, the parent company of Sequoia Voting Systems Inc. is selling the Oakland-based firm, one of the nations three largest suppliers of voting equipment.

The Venezuelan owners of Smartmatic Corp. were expected to announce today that they are putting Sequoia up for sale.

Almost a third of California counties use the firms voting machines, including Alameda and Santa Clara counties, and Sequoia is the largest seller of ATM-like touch-screen voting machines in the state.

Smartmatic executives say the reason for the sale is a persistent controversy over foreign ownership of a U.S. voting company, which has included allegations of Smartmatic ties to the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a critic of U.S. policies.

Senior management was spending far too much of their time dealing with the issue of foreign ownership and not with the core business, Smartmatic Chief Executive Officer Antonio Mugica said Thursday.

Elections market observers said it could be hard to find a U.S. buyer because other large domestic voting-equipment firms could be barred by antitrust laws and because the market for voting equipment is tightening.

Smartmatic Announces It Will Sell Sequoia Voting Systems, Withdraw from CFIUS Review PDF  | Print |  Email
Sequoia Voting Systems
By Rep. Carolyn Maloney Press Release   
December 22, 2006

Rep. Maloney, who first raised case with Treasury, says company could not overcome doubts and reiterates need for an enhanced CFIUS process

Voting machine firm Smartmatic has announced that it plans to sell major voting machine maker Sequoia Voting Systems. With this pending sale, Smartmatic is withdrawing from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States investigation into its 2005 purchase of Sequoia.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14), who first raised the need for an investigation of the Sequoia deal to the Department of the Treasury, said today that the CFIUS review, though initially resisted by Smartmatic, was vital in helping eliminate questions about the soundness of the Sequoia voting machines.

Treasury Urged to Make Public the Results of CFIUS Investigation of Smartmatic PDF  | Print |  Email
Sequoia Voting Systems
By Rep. Carolyn Maloney Press Release   
December 03, 2006

Rep. Maloney Cites Need to Reassure Public About U.S. Voting System


See also Wall Street Journal: U.S. Authorities Probe How Smartmatic Won Venezuela Election Pact 


The Member of Congress who first highlighted the need for an investigation of a deal involving voting machine manufacturer Smartmatic is urging the Department of Treasury to make the results of the investigation public when they are finalized. Smartmatic, a company with Venezuelan roots, announced shortly before November’s elections that it was indeed undergoing a Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) investigation related to its purchase of Sequoia Voting Systems in 2005.


Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14) wrote this week to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to point out the public unease about electronic voting, due to numerous glitches on Election Day and press stories about the Smartmatic investigation. It has also been reported this week that Smartmatic is the subject of an ongoing Department of Justice investigation into the possibility that the company bribed the Venezuelan government for contracts and may have committed tax fraud.

Glitches Hit Other Sequoia Systems PDF  | Print |  Email
Sequoia Voting Systems
By Jeff Smith, Rocky Mountain News   
November 19, 2006
Denver's voting machine provider, Sequoia Voting Systems, has become controversial for problems with elections around the country and for its acquisition last year by a company controlled by a Venezuelan national. In Denver, a panel of business and community leaders is analyzing the Election Day chaos that included delays in electronically verifying registered voters. Sequoia supplied custom software for the process but said the Denver Election Commission was responsible for setting up the system.


Cook County, Ill., which also uses Sequoia equipment, is putting together a panel to examine delays in transmitting results from polling stations. Officials there ended up hand-delivering many of the results to election headquarters. While early news reports blamed Sequoia, "at this point we're not speculating," said Cook County spokeswoman Kelley Quinn.


In Ocean County, N.J., votes from a Sequoia machine were counted twice, leading an assistant attorney general to ask a judge for permission to open all voting machines to recheck results. Additional discrepancies haven't been found and Sequoia preliminarily has determined a software error was to blame.


Read the Entire Article at Rocky Mountain News

The Omaha World-Herald Should Divest from Election Systems and Software PDF  | Print |  Email
Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
By Kyle Michaelis, New Nebraska Network   
November 17, 2006
Last week, the Omaha World-Herald published what read like a post-election press release for Election Systems & Software on the general success of its vote counting software and hardware across the country. Amidst the love-fest, it also shared some important details about ES&S and its corporate relationship with the World-Herald:
"It's been, all things considered, a smooth day," said Jill Friedman-Wilson, a spokeswoman for Omaha-based Election Systems & Software. "When you look at the scale and the scope of this election, what you're seeing are problems you would expect," she said....

ES&S, in which the Omaha World-Herald Co. owns a minority interest, is the country's biggest supplier of election hardware and software.

On Tuesday, nearly 67 million people were expected to vote using ES&S equipment. The company's machinery counts well over half the votes in a national election through 1,800 voting jurisdictions in 43 states....

Some voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas complained that touchscreens showed a vote for Republican candidates when they wanted to vote Democratic. Election officials said that wasn't the case, and ES&S' Friedman-Wilson said touchscreen machines were designed to highlight candidate selections so a voter could change them if an error were made.
Meanwhile, this weekend, the World-Herald suggested that slow election night returns in Omaha/Douglas County resulted because the county "printed its own ballots instead of purchasing them from Election Systems & Software." Synergy, baby!
Observations of a Poll Worker: A Critique Of The eSlate PDF  | Print |  Email
Hart Intercivic
By David J. Maschek, pollworker in Houston, Texas   
November 15, 2006

This article appeared at Fort Bend Now. It is reposted here with permission of the author. 


The possibilities of vote fraud by computer hacking have been widely discussed in the news media. A more immediate concern should be electronic voting equipment that is not user-friendly.


With the Hart Intercivic eSlate, our polling place’s Presiding Judge and I had to answer an extraordinary number of requests for voter assistance on Election Day 2006. Most, but not all, of these calls for help came from elderly people or voters with heavy accents. Voters under 50 years of age seemed to need less help, and young people hardly any at all.

On Election Day 2006, I was an Assistant Judge at the Townewest Town Hall in Fort Bend County. I’m a Democrat. The Presiding Judge is a Republican. We took turns at the JBC, which is the eSlate’s controller, and with the very numerous requests for help from voters.

Two precincts voted at our polling location, one in the 9th US House District and the other in the 22nd. We had twelve booths and four additional clerks.

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