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‘Electronic voting’ Category

Friday, April 18th, 2008

Statement from PA Department of State

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.

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

PA Officials: No Trouble With Touchscreens *

Recently I interviewed Princeton computer scientist Edward Felten about malfunctions of touchscreen voting machines in New Jersey on Feb. 5th. PAVotes.com says these same machines will be used on Tuesday in Montgomery and Northhampton counties. (more…)

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Follow Nelson’s Lead on Reforming Elections System

Norman J. Ornstein
Why Tuesday? Board Member Norman J. Ornstein

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) is one of the good guys in Congress — smart, thoughtful, decent and hardworking. Now, fortunately, he is turning his attention and considerable energies to election reform, a broadly defined issue.

It is fortunate for two reasons: First, there are big issues out there and enough people distrustful of the electoral process or cynical about it to create a real crisis of governance the next time we have a very close election. Second, precious few lawmakers have decided to devote their time and attention to this topic.

Despite the emotions raised by problems with voting, this is not a slam-dunk winner of an issue politically. And those lawmakers who were instrumental in passing the Help America Vote Act in 2002 have either lost interest in the issue, are exhausted from it or believe we should wait awhile before acting again.

They are wrong. We do need to be careful about rushing to major reform without considering the costs and consequences; we are paying now for the rush to employ touch-screen devices known as DREs, or direct-recording electronic machines. And every major reform has to be absorbed by hapless election administrators who have neither the resources nor the trained personnel to make big changes on a frequent basis.

(more…)

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

Video Chat: Princeton’s Ed Felten

I video-chatted yesterday with Princeton professor Edward Felten. After he was alerted to strange vote tallies by Sequoia voting machines on Super Tuesday, Sequoia wrote to tell Felton that if he investigated the malfunction, even at the request of county clerks, it may be grounds for a lawsuit against him. (more…)

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

For A Laugh

The satirical newspaper and TV news outfit The Onion today published this video report. While it’s obviously a joke, electronic voting machines in the United States are no laughing matter, and it is an issue we pay close attention to here. (more…)

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Jessica Menter: From South Carolina Primary

This video report just in from Why Tuesday? correspondents Jessica Menter and Lindsey Seelhorst, back from a weekend monitoring the South Carolina Democratic primary. (more…)

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