Mar 19 2008

Sequoia voting machines can’t do simple addition

Published by at 7:51 am under Government

It’s no secret that I’ve never been a big fan of electronic voting machines. The fact that none of the manufacturers have been anything approaching transparent in how these machines can be audited and verified is just one of the many issues with them. Now it appears that the Sequaia machines that were used in the New Jersey primary elections can’t even do simple addition. 1+13+40+3+4=61 as Ed Felten points out. This isn’t higher math, it’s simple addition my six-year-old can do.

And to add insult to injury, Sequoia’s legal council is threatening to sue Professor Felten if he releases any information he gains by looking at Sequoia’s machines. Citing things like trade secrets and licensing agreements, the hope is that the Prof will buckle under rather than show how poorly designed Sequoia’s e-voting machines are. This guy must not have done much research, otherwise he’d know that this tact would never work and will in fact evoke the Streisand Effect as bloggers around the country get the story into their hot little hands.

We can’t let something as important as our voting infrastructure be a ‘trade secret’. It’s not just Sequoia, Diebold and other e-voting machine manufacturers have all had their fair share of mistakes over the years. The whole process these companies go through to create the voting machines is deeply flawed and the security and integrity of the process is an afterthought, if it’s even being thought of at all. No number of lawsuits is going to fix that.

Here’s a humorous little video concerning how insecure these machines really are.


Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early

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4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Sequoia voting machines can’t do simple addition”

  1. Raffion 19 Mar 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Its really unfortunate. On the one hand, I think if gov’t paid a major manufacturer enough to Open Source a voting machine to provide additional scrutiny, it has the potential to streamline the process and increase accuracy.

    On the other hand, what will politicians complain about if voting couldn’t be rigged?

  2. Martinon 20 Mar 2008 at 5:47 am

    More to the point, how would many politicians get elected if they couldn’t rig the voting process?

    I’m a realist, I don’t expect a perfect voting system. But I do want one that isn’t susceptible to wholesale fraud and has enough internal checks and balances to be successfully audited if there is fraud. After all, no one wants some hacker to make Corey Doctorow next President of the United States. Or Robin Williams.

  3. [...] also a look at this humorous little video concerning (which I found here) how insecure voting machines [...]

  4. [...] Sadly, Diebold, one of the biggest electronic voting machine manufacturers in the USA has been getting some bad press regarding their machines’ alleged accuracy issues.  Martin McKeay put up this post with a mock news video about electronic voting machine risks the other day (click HERE). [...]

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