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Utah: Count Votes!

Information about Utah's process for selecting voting equipment to help you make sure that "Utah Counts Votes"

Here are links to some of the reported problems with digital recording electronic (DRE) -style voting machines that record votes electronically and do not provide paper ballots that are hand recountable, from Diebold and ES&S and perhaps Sequoia.

The major flaw with all these systems is the lack of a hand countable paper ballot. Voters must take the time to check both the computer screen and the small paper rolls to see if they match, but will have no idea if the electronic votes and the bar-code on the paper rolls are correct. In addition counting the paper rolls would be unbelievably complex and the paper rolls do not qualify as a legal ballot under Utah law and so may not even be legally countable. Sequoia, Diebold and ES&S use proprietary (SECRET) software, and their voting machines have been found to have security flaws which make it possible to easily hack into them during elections to change vote counts and erase log files without leaving a trace. You can learn how to do it yourself by watching the above video. Neither vendor has thus far designed voting machines which preserve the American Democratic tradition of "Secretly Cast, Publicly Counted" Ballots.

See these sites for more information:

DRE Voting machines like Diebold and ES&S voting machines have other problems which expose elections to programming errors or electronic failures. Federal case law in both California and Florida has sided with voters' right to a voter verified paper trail in case of machine malfunction or disputed elections, yet neither Diebold or ES&S have provided effective means of providing paper recounts because:

ES&S and Diebold were the vendors of DRE voting machines used in elections in Alabama, Georgia, and Nebraska where the highly unlikely outcomes in comparison to scientifically conducted polls would lead one to strongly suspect that the elections there had been rigged. In Florida in the 2000 election, the Miami Herald found that Gore would have won the election he had requested a hand recount of Florida's op-scan counties which used Diebold and ES&S voting machines. In 2004, the Opscan counties which were counted by only Diebold and ES&S voting machines had highly suspicious results and a Miami Herald hand recount of 2.7 of these op-scan counties showed that enough votes shifted from Bush to Kerry that if they'd been multiplied out based on the proportion of the population, Kerry would have won the election in Florida. Ballots must be guarded and recounted if ES&S and Diebold are used to count them, and it would be wisest to require a nonproprietary ballot that can be recounted by a different voting machine vendor's scanning machines for an independent audit or recount.

America's second largest voting corporation is Sequoia Voting Systems. This company is owned by the British company De La Rue, who also owns 20% of the British National Lottery. In 1995 the SEC filed suit against Sequoia for inflating revenue and pre-tax profits. In 1999 charges were filed by the Justice Department against Sequoia in a massive corruption case that sent top Louisiana state officials to jail for bribery, most of it funneled through the Mob. Sequoia's executives were given immunity in exchange for testimony against state officials. In 1999, two Sequoia (Voting Systems) executives, Phil Foster and Pasquale Ricci, were indicted for paying Louisiana Commissioner of Elections Jerry Fowler an $8 million bribe to buy their voting machines. Fowler, is currently serving five years in prison. ES&S and Diebold have equal or greater unsavory histories.

For instance, in Riverside County during the 2000 presidential election, a computer from Sequoia began dropping touch-screen ballots from the vote tally. A Sequoia salesman who was on hand intervened and fixed the problem. Two years later in Bernalillo County, N.M., neither local election officials nor a Sequoia representative noticed on election night that a programming error was causing a computer running Microsoft SQL server software to delete 25 percent of ballots cast by early voters. Three days later, a Democratic Party lawyer spotted a discrepancy between the number of voters who signed in at the polls and the number of digital ballots counted. Sequoia then managed to recover the lost votes. ``They messed up,'' said Mary Herrera, the Bernalillo County clerk, of Sequoia. Responded Sequoia spokesman Alfie Charles: ``It was just a bug in Microsoft that required an additional step in converting data into the database format. There was a patch that was later applied by Microsoft.''

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