John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Got a “Verifiable Paper Trail” for Those Phantom Voters?

If one set out to design electronic voting machines that undermine voter confidence and threaten the integrity and accuracy of the whole election process, it would be hard to outdo those of Premier Election Solutions, formerly Diebold Election Systems (DBD).

But Sequoia Voting Systems is trying–really trying. Earlier this week thousands of phantom votes were cast in a Washington D.C. primary election that used Sequoia’s machines. This not a week after the Computer Security Group at the University of California at Santa Barbara demonstrated how astonishingly simple it is to hack the company’s e-voting systems.

Election officials initially blamed the cock-up on some defective memory in one of Sequoia’s machines. But the company denies this. “There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the [District’s election] database,” spokesperson Michelle Shafer insisted. “There’s absolutely no problem with the machines in the polling places. No. No.”

OK. But if that’s the case, why were thousands of phantom votes recorded in the election? The answer to that question is particularly troubling: Sequoia doesn’t know. Neither does the D.C. Board of Elections. “All I can tell you is that we’re looking into it,” said Daniel Murphy, a spokesman for the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics.

Well, that’s reassuring. Especially with the November elections nearly upon us …