Voting Machine Mess-up Du Jour (Displayed 08/14/04 and 08/15/04)

Sacramento, California. August 2004. Sequoia.
Paper trail showed the machine missed votes in Spanish.

In a demonstration of its Direct Recording Electronic voting machine with a paper trail, Sequoia demonstrated that its machine failed to report four votes in Spanish.*

Notice that this demonstration CAN ONLY mean one of two things:
    1) The voting machine didn't record the votes correctly, or
    2) The printer didn't print what the voting machine recorded.
Yet, 30% of Americans will be voting on electronic voting machines in November.

Sequoia's unsupported claim that the votes were recorded electronically was accompanied by the excuse that the sales force was simply careless in preparing a demo for the largest market in the United States.

Last week, Sequoia vice president and former California assistant secretary of state Alfie Charles was showing off the new Veri- Vote printer that his firm is supplying to Nevada when an astute legislative aide in Johnson's office noticed two votes were missing.

Charles tried again to vote in Spanish with the same result: He cast votes on two mock ballot initiatives, but they were absent from the electronic summary screen and the paper trail.

"The paper trail itself seemed to work fine but what it revealed was when he demonstrated voting in Spanish, the machine itself did not record his vote," Chesin said. "Programming errors can occur and the paper trail was the way we caught it."

Charles said his company's touch-screen actually did record the electronic votes in its memory but through an oversight failed to reflect the votes on its electronic display and printout.

"There's no problem with the way the equipment worked. It was a problem in the ballot setup," Charles said. "People do make mistakes and that's why you have ballot proofing. Because it was for demonstration purposes, we didn't put all the attention into it that we should have. That would never have occurred in a regular election."

Kim Zetter reports:**

Charles said the machine did record the votes accurately in its memory, but failed to record them on the paper trail and on the review screen that voters examine before casting their ballot. Swatt and Chesin could not confirm this, however, because the company did not show them evidence of the digital votes stored on the machine's internal memory.

* Lawmakers cut e-voting's paper trail: Manufacturers demonstrating new printers in Nevada were embarrassed when machine failed to recognize votes. Tri-Valley Herald. August 13, 2004. By Ian Hoffman, Staff Writer.

** Wrong Time for an E-Vote Glitch. Wired News. August 12, 2004. By Kim Zetter.

See: Sequoia in the News

News stories make it rapidly apparent that
electronic voting is not reliable, accurate, or secure.
Any one who claims otherwise is either ignorant or deceptive.
~ Joseph Holder