YESTERDAY a court subpoenaed electronic voting machines in six New Jersey counties that had exhibited discrepancies during the recent primary election.
Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg ordered the counties' elections officials to produce the machines no later than next Tuesday for testing by an independent computer expert.
Elections clerks had discovered vote tabulation discrepancies in 60 machines when they checked vote tallies following New Jersey's presidential primary held on February 5th. The counts of Democratic and Republican voters recorded on cartridge printouts didn't match the paper tape backups inside the machines.
Voting activists opposed to "black box" touch screen electronic voting machines then sought to have the machines examined. Representing them, Penny Venetis of the Rutgers University law clinic argued, "We're entitled to this. In order to succeed in our case and show [that] Sequoia machines are insecure and can be hacked into, we need to look at these machines."
Michelle Shafer, speaking for Sequoia Voting Systems from California, said that the company would try to have the subpoenas quashed.
Venetis shot back that Sequoia is not a party to the case and therefore lacks standing to object.
The state elections clerks' association joined the voting activists in calling for independent testing. They asked that Princeton University computer science professors Edward Felton and Andrew Appel, both of whom have investigated electronic voting machines and testified before Judge Feinberg, examine the Sequoia machines at issue.
Sequoia has resisted calls for any independent testing of its electronic voting machines. As we reported last month, Professor Felten said the company sent him an email threatening to sue him if he conducted any testing of its machines. Sequoia also threatened to sue its customers, the counties' elections officials, if they submitted the dodgy voting machines in question for independent testing.
County elections officials backed off, but the Constitutional Officers Association of New Jersey asked that the state Attorney General's office have the voting machines independently examined. The state Attorney General's office didn't act. Meanwhile, the state Elections Division was transferred to report to the Department of State.
Sequoia then claimed that it welcomed third party independent reviews so much that it was willing to sponsor one by hiring a supposedly "independent" company named Kwaidan Consulting to perform a full review on its behalf.
When the voting activist website Brad Blog looked into Kwaidan Consulting, it found that it consisted of one Mike Gibbons, a "blonde nymphomaniac" seeking 50-year old babe magnet living in Sugar Land, Texas, according to his cached MySpace page. Who would want Princeton professors if they could have him?
We're not lawyers here, of course. However, parties who provide information or evidence in response to court subpoenas generally can't be sued successfully for doing so, and neither can experts who conduct court ordered examinations, we believe.
So, unless Sequoia can get those subpoenas quashed, it would appear that its "black box" touch screen electronic voting machines will get a careful looking into in New Jersey before too long.
Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi was disturbed to see Sequoia's resistance to independent testing. She said, "Obviously, they feel there is something they must protect." µ
Tabs to more Ctrl and less Win. Such Fn.
Either that or it's a really intense holiday