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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

SF's New Non-Crappy Voting Machines May Actually Be Crappy

Posted By on Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 10:10 AM

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Remember how Electronic Systems and Software sold San Francisco a bunch a voting machines and kind of forgot to tell us they were uncertified? They eventually paid the city $3.5 million and city supervisors signed a $12.6 million contract with another company, Sequoia Voting Systems. The machines were supposed to count both paper and electronic ballots in our ranked-choice elections. Well, New Jersey uses machines from the same company that seemed to have malfunctioned in at least one election, according to an article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal. Edward Felton, a Princeton Professor who runs a lab that studies voting-machine security and blew the whistle on the faulty Diebold touch screen system, said the machine counts votes improperly.
The numbers were typically off by one, he said: “Usually we saw one too many votes for one party and one too few for the other.” (click 'more')

Felton was going to study the machines and try to figure out the source of the problem but Sequoia preferred he didn't. The company sent Felton an email saying that the counties would be in violation of licensing agreements if they shared the machines with the professor. They also said they had "retained counsel to stop any infringement of our intellectual properties, including any noncomplaint analysis." At this point, San Francisco should resort to a carefully regulated series of cage matches and high stakes poker games to determine the outcome of elections.–Andy Wright

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Andy Wright

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