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Uncertified Hardware/Software Ran in Our Primary

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  • Richard King
    To: Allegheny County Board of Election From: Richard King, Ph.D. kinggaines@comcast.net www.VotePA.us (412) 400-3773 June 2nd, 2006 Subject: Primary Concerns
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 2, 2006
      Allegheny County Board of Election

      Richard King, Ph.D.
      (412) 400-3773

      June 2nd, 2006
      Subject: Primary Concerns

      1) Uncertified Hardware
      Allegheny County's recent primary was run on two different types of
      iVotronic machines. One machine type is referred to by ES&S as "the
      ADA model" which has "ADA scroll buttons" and received state
      certification upon the recommendation of Dr. Michael Shamos. The
      other model is not the "ADA Model" as specified by Dr. Shamos in his
      certification report as it lacks the "ADA scroll buttons". These two
      different machines differ in their physical form, in the screen
      changes that occur during the set up for each new voter by the poll
      worker, and in the physical method by which the voter completes the
      voting process. Only the “ADA model” was certified for use in Federal
      and State elections by Pennsylvania’s Secretary of the Commonwealth,
      Mr. Pedro Cortes.

      2) Uncertified Software
      We have four poll tapes produced during our recent primary. One of
      these poll tapes indicates that the software version used on the
      Personal Electronic Ballot (PEB) device differs from the version
      certified by the state0. The Secretary of the Commonwealth certified
      PEB firmware version 1.07 for use in Pennsylvania’s elections.
      Version 1.05 is not certified for use in Pennsylvania’s elections. A
      follow up review of records including more than 100 precincts, did
      not find another instance of the uncertified version (1.05) of firmware.

      3) Lack of Process for Verification of the Software
      The county has provided assurances of the will and resources to
      verify that the software received from ES&S is identical to the
      software certified by the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Since a
      poll tape indicates that uncertified software was used, and since an
      official of our Allegheny County's Division of Elections indicated in
      court testimony that the county would not be verifying the software
      as that certified by the state, we are curious about the nature of
      the software that has run our recent primary.

      *** Therefore voters of Allegheny County are requesting that an
      expert review the software on the two different machines to verify
      that it is same as that certified by the Secretary of the
      Commonwealth. ***

      Why should voters believe software accurately casts and counts
      ballots when the ballots were cast on uncertified hardware and/or
      uncertified software? ES&S has run uncertified software in other
      states such as California and Indiana. At present in Allegheny
      County, some minimal assurance of the integrity of our elections
      could be provided software verification. However, many computer
      security experts agree that given the current state of the art of
      eVoting, only the use of Voter Verified Paper Records with Routine
      Audits can secure eVoting with respect to reliability and tamper

      4) Zero Print Tapes as safeguards to e-ballot stuffing
      a) From our record review, we know iVotronics can and do print zero
      tapes on election day regardless of whether or not votes for the
      ongoing election are already on the machines. I'm told that the
      iVotronic is the only voting machine allowed to do so in
      Pennsylvania. We know zero tapes were printed through the use of a
      "Secret Administrative Code" as late as 2:30 PM during the day of the
      b) Records indicate that the iVotronic machines also print zero tapes
      that look like regular zero tapes - except that the tapes indicate
      that the "Number of Terminals Open" can be equal to ZERO; (or 1, 2,
      or 3 machines). If zero terminals are open, does a zero print
      indicate that the voting data banks are really being assessed or not?
      c) Zero tapes are required by law to be posted in the precinct
      because they are supposed to be a basis for believing that the
      machine contains no votes prior to the beginning of the election.
      The question arises, "What assurances do zero print tapes provide?"
      Particularly if they can be printed at anytime during the election
      or even after the election by a secret administrative code?

      5) Discrepancies between poll books and eVotes cast ("Missing Ballots")
      According to legislative candidate Ed Gainey (24th district), a
      review of poll records commonly indicated discrepancies between the
      number of voters signed into the district register and the number of
      voters who voted in the precinct. What happened to these ballots?

      6) The lack of safeguard in the optical scan central count process
      The risks of fraud in central count optical scan are well known. My
      understanding is that in the event of a recount, PA law requires that
      a ballot box cannot be opened without notifying all the interested
      parties, a judge of elections and an observer appointed by the
      court. Given these sage precautions, is it advisable that the
      optical scan central count process was not provided with similar

      7) The absence of Voter-Verified Paper Ballots with Routine Audits to
      safeguard the reliability and security of eVoting.
      The Association for Computing Machinery is the largest professional
      association of computer technologists. ACM issued a policy statement
      “that e-voting systems enable voters to inspect a physical (e.g.,
      paper) record to verify the accuracy of their vote, and to serve as
      an independent check on the record produced and stored by the system.
      In addition, those records should be made permanent, not based solely
      in computer memory, to allow for an accurate recount.”

      8) The Opportunity: Renegotiate the County’s Voting Machine Contract
      The Board of Election has unanimously endorsed voter-verification and
      accessible voting. The BOE can now purchase the most completely
      accessible and voter verifiable voting system from ES&S in time for
      the November election.

      The voting machines to be used in November’s election have yet to be
      manufactured. The breach of the voting machine contract by use of
      uncertified hardware and software in Allegheny County elections frees
      the county from the present contract and presents a tremendous
      opportunity for the county to renegotiate with ES&S. ES&S can
      provide accessible, voter-verifiable, re-countable and more cost-
      effective voting equipment. ES&S can deliver Automarks and Precinct
      Based Optical Scan voting machines for November’s election. The
      voters of Allegheny County will benefit from the most accessible,
      verifiable, auditable, robust, safeguard-able and cost-effective
      voting system.

      Respectfully and Appreciatively,
      Richard King, Ph.D.

      (412) 400-3773

      Richard King, Ph.D.
      (412) 400-3773

      Links for Pennsylvania HB2000/SB977:
      Voter Verified Paper Records with Routine Audits
      www.PA-VerifiedVoting.org (locate&email your legislators)
      www.VotePA.us (Listserve for voting reform activists)
      democracyforberks.com/countmyvote (List of co-sponsors)
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