Riverside County Urged to Dump Sequoia DREs: A Citizen Plea

Honorable Riverside County Board of Supervisors and Registrar of Voters,

There comes a time to abandon a company that cannot be trusted. Sequoia’ s days are numbered and so should the days that Riverside County continues to hang on to a secret vote counting system controlled by foreign nationals with interests generally considered to be contrary to the U.S.’

1. On October 14, 2005, Antonio Mujica, CEO of Smartmatic, was refused entry into the United States. His Visa was revoked by the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela. See (http://www.vcrisis.com/index.php?content=letters/200510160629)

VotersUnite.Org’s Information Manager, John Gideon said, “The irony of this situation shows how irrational the administration of elections in the U.S. has become. While U.S. law allows this Venezuelan man to control the secret counting of Americans’ votes, the U.S. State Department doesn’t consider him fit to enter the country, even temporarily.”

The organization's Executive Director, Ellen Theisen, added, “It’s also ironic that when we take vote-counting to Iraq, we take it in the form of paper ballots deposited into clear plastic ballot boxes, but in our own country, vote-counting is in the form of electronic ballots and secret software controlled by a man our government has declared ineligible to set foot in the country.”

2. Recently (in the last 60 days) the federal government initiated an investigation into the Sequoia/Smartmatic purchase which may have violated U.S. laws – allowing a foreign company to control voting systems in the U.S.

3. Today we learn the Brennan Center has to issue a special media alert after Sequoia tried to claim ""Sequoia Voting Systems' AVC Edge, a touch screen Direct Record Electronic (DRE) voting system, received the top usability rating of any voting machine in the Brennan Center for Justice ", along with two other fallacious claims. The Brennan Center release, below, states "Nothing could be further from the truth".


4. Please support legislation introduced today by Barbara Boxer, Russ Feingold and Christopher Dodd to reimburse counties for making paper ballots available to all voters.


The election integrity community in Riverside County will NOT stand by quietly while our election system (costing many, many millions more than the purchase price) utilizes equipment and secret software that make it impossible for citizens to verify the reported outcome. A total cost calculator will be issued by the Brennan Center next week to show what E-Voting is REALLY costing us. It will show what we have been telling you all along – it is incredibly expensive and a huge waste of taxpayer dollars, while at the same time providing no security that our votes are counted as cast.

As Art Cassel told you on September 12th, it is YOU who are out of sync with the American public – 90%+ of survey respondents believe that electronic voting machines should NOT be utilized until/unless it can be proven they cannot be manipulated. And as the Princeton University hack of last week clearly demonstrated, E-Voting machines CAN be easily hacked, opened with a mini-bar key, the result completely reversed, and no trace left behind. Not even the election officials or the Board of Supervisors would know unless they were personally involved.

There are many outstanding uses for computers. But electrons and elections do not mix.

Tom Courbat



Written by ReformNY

Sunday, 24 September 2006

On Wednesday, Sequoia voting systems issued a press release claiming that their AVC edge received a "top usability rating of any voting machine" in our usability study. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Sequoia makes at least three misstatement of facts:

1) "Sequoia Voting Systems' AVC Edge receives best rating in new Brennan Center report on usability."

2) "Sequoia Voting Systems' AVC Edge, a touch screen Direct Record Electronic (DRE) voting system, received the top usability rating of any voting machine in the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law's recent report."

3) "Sequoia's AVC Edge, which was used statewide in Nevada for the 2004 presidential election, produced a residual vote rate of 0.3% - significantly lower than all other comparable systems."

All of these statements are untrue. First, and most simply, the Report does not rate any voting systems. The first two statements are therefore patently false.

Second, as explained on page 16 of our usability report, because no states other than Nevada include a "none of the above option", which reduces the residual (or lost) vote rate, and because no states other than Nevada used the DRE system with VVPT, the Report states that the data for the DRE system with VVPT "are too limited to draw any conclusions regarding residual vote rates," and that the .3% residual voter rate "is not directly comparable to that produced by other jurisdictions with different ballot options." Therefore, Sequoia's statements that suggest a comparison of the Sequoia Voting System with other voting machines are false and misleading.

Finally, Sequoia uses these misstatements to suggest that New Yorkers should purchase their full face DREs. But one thing is quite clear from our study: full face DREs have significantly higher residual vote (or lost vote) rates than other electronic voting systems. So the Brennan Center study most certainly does not make this suggestion.