(disclosure: posted by Jill Stein’s campaign staff)
STEIN CRITICIZES SECRETARY’S DECISION TO USE FLAWED DIEBOLD VOTING MACHINES IMPLICATED IN SECURITY LAPSES
Reacting to the recent report that the Massachusetts Secretary of State is introducing Diebold TSx touch screen voting machines for use in the November election, Jill Stein, Green-Rainbow candidate for Secretary of State, had the following comments.
“The decision to use the insecure, unreliable Diebold TSx touch screen voting machines even for optional use in several Massachusetts towns on November 7 is misguided. Voters are being offered an untrustworthy voting machine, and already overburdened poll workers are being asked to master a notoriously unfriendly technology at the 11th hour.
The use of the machines is part of an evaluation of two voting devices to assist the disabled. This is a belated attempt to fulfill Help America Vote Act requirements to provide for the neglected voting rights of the disabled. It is a sad commentary on the current Secretary’s office that this effort in Massachusetts is first getting off the ground in the final weeks before the general election, well after the Sept. 19 deadline for having technology in place to assist the disabled, and four years after the deadline was established. Flawed technology with a track record of security failures is not the solution to meeting the voting needs of the disabled.
It is unfortunate that the Secretary of State – the Commonwealth’s chief public information officer – has been neither public nor informative about this timely issue. Despite the many questions that are being asked, Secretary Galvin has refused to participate in numerous election forums for the Secretary of State race at which this and other critical problems are being discussed.
Stein pledged to block introduction of touch screen electronic voting machines into the Commonwealth until they have been proven to be reliable, cost effective, verifiable and tamper proof. She called for a system of hand-counted audits to ensure detection of voting machine problems. The integrity of our elections is central to the democratic process, and we must have a Secretary who will safeguard both our right to vote and the integrity of our voting system.”
BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON DIEBOLD VOTING MACHINES
Diebold machines were barred from use in California, and the company paid a $2.6 million settlement after being sued for making false claims about the security and certification status of its machines. In Maryland, following problems during September’s primary, the state is rushing to print 1.6 million paper ballots for the Nov. 7 election amid calls from Governor Ehrlich that voters should avoid casting their vote on the electronic voting systems. A report last week in the Washington Post raised new security concerns, as a disk with secret Diebold election software was leaked. And the Baltimore Sun reported this week that “Diebold Election Systems shipped Maryland flawed electronic voting machines that were used in the 2004 election, then quietly replaced the malfunctioning components last year”.
There are numerous other reports of security vulnerabilities in touch screen voting machines in general, and the TSx model in particular, including major studies from the Johns Hopkins University Information Security Institute, the GAO, the Carter Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform, and Black Box Voting.
Provisions in the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), pushed many states into the uncharted territory of electronic voting. HAVA was engineered by convicted Ohio Congressman Bob Ney, whose chief of staff, David DiStefano, left to become a Diebold lobbyist. Ney is also known to have accepted favors including a golfing trip to Scotland from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, whose firm, Greenberg Traurig, received $275,000 from Diebold.
According to a study by ElectionOnline.org, approximately one-third of voters nationwide will be casting their ballots this year on voting systems never before used in a general election. The report notes that election administration has undergone more changes from machines to
databases to ID and provisional voting procedures in the past two years than perhaps any other time in the nations history. And that is a likely cause of trouble at the polls in some parts of the country.