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Statement from PA Department of State

Friday, April 18th, 2008

Yesterday I spoke to Pennsylvania Department of State Director of Communications Leslie Amorós about our look into the trouble with the Sequoia AVC Advantage voting machine in New Jersey, and how the same machines will be used on Tuesday in Pennsylvania. In response, she sent me the following statement:

From: [Leslie Amorós]
Subject: RE: Edward Felten Interview
Date: April 17, 2008 6:04:10 PM EDT
To: [Jacob Soboroff]

Thank you for sending me the link.

As we discussed earlier, two of 67 counties in PA uses the Sequoia Advantage, and one of the counties has used the system since 1996. Since the 2006 implementation of using voting systems that met Help America Vote Act requirements, Pennsylvania successfully has conducted 4 elections.

The PA Department of State is committed to holding fair, accurate and accessible elections. To keep informed, the Department of State consistently monitors various news, studies and literature regarding elections.

In Pennsylvania, electronic voting systems must undergo a statutorily required testing process. The system must be tested by a federal independent testing authority. Then, unlike some states that only require the federal testing, Pennsylvania law requires a second tier of testing. The state testing is conducted by two independent testing examiners. After successful results of both testing processes in Pennsylvania, the Secretary of the Commonwealth certifies the system for use in PA. Counties then select the system that they will use from the list of certified systems.

Keep in mind that holding successful elections is a result of many factors, not just the voting systems. Poll worker training and numerous security measures are implemented to ensure an efficient election. For example, before voting systems are used by voters, the county conducts logic and accuracy tests to ensure that each of the voting the systems are tallying votes correctly.

The link referred to in the e-mail is my video-chat with Princeton computer scientist Edward Felten. For a look at what the Mayor of Philadelphia, the Governor of Pennsylvania and a Pennsylvania Congressman think about this issue, click here.

2 Responses to “Statement from PA Department of State”

  1. PA Voter Says:

    Oh, yeah, the Pennsylvania Machines are tested… riiiggghttt… What makes this Department of State jerk think that these SAME MACHINES that “passed” the SAME (so-called) FEDERAL TEST will work any better for them than they do in other states?

    Oh, right, they have Michael Shamos, the pompous gasbag testing for them too. He counts 12 ballots and if the machine can do that right (and some haven’t!) he passes it. And one has to wonder WHY Shamos likes electronic voting so much. hmmmm???

    Go to VotePA.us or VoteTrust or Voters unite and see some of the messes that Pennsylvania has had. And these officials remain totally CLUELESS. Gonna be the next Florida, wait and see.

  2. polar bear Says:

    is that smoke i see blowing? voting machines are susceptible to hacking. period.

    you can find groups working to get rid of the machines, one is Progressive Democrats of America; another is eluding me right now. This is a core issue. If someone can “count” our votes how they want to, nothing else is going to happen.

    Private companies should not be handling our votes.

    Anyway, i agree with PA voter and hope we can all do something to stop this.

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