Re: SF Chroncile: Touch vote machine ban hurts counties

From: Teresa Hommel <tahommel_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Sun Aug 05 2007 - 15:42:12 CDT

Please send links when you send articles or other documents. Can you
send the link to this?

Teresa

Alan Dechert wrote:

>I got the last line in this article. That's a good sign, I think.
>
>**********************
>Touch vote machine ban hurts counties
>
>John Wildermuth, Chronicle Staff Writer
>
>Sunday, August 5, 2007
>
>Secretary of State Debra Bowen has made it clear she doesn't trust
>touch-screen voting systems, and Napa and Santa Clara counties are going to
>pay the price.
>
>In a late-night news conference Friday, Bowen announced a ban on all but the
>most limited use of the touch screen machines manufactured by Sequoia Voting
>Systems and Diebold Election Systems. She said they were vulnerable to
>hackers, who could change election results.
>
>Bowen admitted she favors the optical scan system, which use a paper ballot
>that can be easily tracked and recounted. The optical scan systems "are
>easier for voters to see and understand," she said in a statement, and can
>make it easier "to begin rebuilding the voter confidence in the systems we
>use to conduct elections."
>
>But for Napa, Santa Clara and the 20 or so other California counties that
>use only the touch-screen machines in their polling places, Bowen's decision
>is a potential disaster. While the machines can still be used, each polling
>place will be limited to a single machine and every vote cast on a
>touch-screen machine must be recounted by hand after the election.
>
>That's not a major problem for the counties that use touch-screen machines
>simply as a way to meet the federal requirement that disabled voters be able
>to cast ballots unassisted. But forcing every voter at a polling place to
>use a single machine could cause voter gridlock on election day.
>
>Santa Clara County, for example, uses more than 4,000 Sequoia touch-screen
>machines in about 800 polling places. Napa uses more than 300 of the Sequoia
>machines, with about three for each polling place, said John Tuteur, the
>county registrar.
>
>"We had 24,000 people who voted in the November 2006 election," he said. "We
>only had six requests for the paper ballot we're required to supply. Our
>voters like our machines."
>
>While Napa could run an election with one voting machine per polling place,
>it wouldn't be easy, Tuteur said. And if the county is required to recount
>every vote cast on those touch-screen machines by hand, it could take weeks.
>
>Ever since Bowen announced her "top to bottom review" of the state's voting
>systems, local election officials have complained that the tests were
>designed from the start to eliminate touch-screen voting machines in
>California.
>
>The tests, run by computer scientists from the University of California,
>were "not objective or fair," said Steve Weir, Contra Costa County registrar
>and president of the California Association of Clerks and Election
>Officials. Bowen "was on a mission and accomplished it. She created a
>feeling of crisis and mistrust, and now it's in her best interest to solve
>that."
>
>But Bowen said the tests showed just how vulnerable all voting systems are
>to hackers and others who would fiddle with election results. One reason she
>put the strict limits on the touch-screen machines is that a test of their
>software source code showed it was possible for someone to load a malicious
>virus into a single machine and then spread it to the entire system.
>
>Bowen's decision to allow the use of current voting machines and election
>software even with the new restriction disappointed many of the voting
>activists who supported her in November in her successful effort to oust
>Republican Secretary of State Bruce McPherson. Many of those supporters are
>convinced that accurate election results can't be guaranteed as long as the
>machines and software that record and tally the votes are provided by
>private companies.
>
>Bowen is buckling to pressure from the vendors and election officials, said
>Alan Dechert, president of the Open Voting Consortium.
>
>"She is not requiring any changes in the software or hardware used," he
>said. "This is not why we elected her."
>
>While Bowen's new rulings are a first step, Dechert said, "she's got a long
>way to go."
>
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>
>

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Received on Fri Aug 31 23:17:04 2007

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