E-Vote: Clash Over New Jersey Voting Machine Reliability

"The use of the Direct Recording Electronic Voting Machines in this state ensures the most accurate recording possible from the most up-to-date technology. New Jersey voters should be equally confident."

by / October 23, 2008 0

New Jersey Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells addressed a recent report made public last week by Princeton Professor Andrew Appel that challenged the integrity of the state's electronic voting machines.

Officials from the New Jersey Division of Elections have expressed complete confidence in the state's voting process and the security of its voting machines, said Wells in a release. The release went on to say the Sequoia AVC Advantage voting machines have undergone extensive federal testing for the accuracy of the source code, which records the votes.

The New Jersey Division of Elections relied on the expertise of Professor Michael Ian Shamos of the Carnegie Mellon University's renowned School of Computer Science.

Professor Shamos has performed more than 120 voting system certification examinations for several states and is an expert in the field said the release.

"The Appel report claims to evaluate the security and accuracy of the Sequoia AVC Advantage DRE voting machines," said Shamos. "Furthermore, the methodology used to evaluate the accuracy of the system does not even minimally comport with the standards and methodology used in the trade or as promulgated by the Election Assistance Commission or statute for evaluating the accuracy of voting systems."

Appel and his team were given unfettered access to the voting machines for several months, without any of the security enhancements that will be in place on Election Day, continued the release. In addition, Appel and his team were given the source code to the machine.

The state moved to implement electronic voting because it offers an added measure of protection from tampering over a paper ballot, said the release. In addition, voting machines produce reports to allow for cross-checking and verification. This choice has proven successful and New Jersey has not had a single election overturned as a result of any error or fraud relating to the accuracy or operation of the Sequoia voting machine.

The Secretary of State has announced that to further the state's goal of ensuring the security of its voting machines, New Jersey has implemented myriad cutting-edge safety enhancements in time for the upcoming Presidential Election. For instance, each voting machine will be equipped with tamper-evident seals similar to those used by airlines to protect their airplanes post-9/11.

"We are confident in the analysis of noted expert Professor Shamos: the use of the Direct Recording Electronic Voting Machines in this state ensures the most accurate recording possible from the most up-to-date technology. New Jersey voters should be equally confident," said Wells.