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From: Bart (
Subject:         PA primary will be unauditable; GOP blocks e-voting reform
Date: April 22, 2008 at 7:18 am PST

On the eve of tomorrow's hotly contested and relatively close Democratic presidential primary in Pennsylvania, a number of voting activists are sounding the alarm one last time about the state's election systems. Over 85 percent of PA voters will vote on paperless touchscreen machines that are hackable, failure-prone, and fundamentally unauditable.

The ever-vigilant Bradblog has a roundup of which models will be used in tomorrow's contest, and it's not pretty:

* Two PA counties, one of which, Montgomery, is the state's most populous, will use the same Sequoia AVC Edge touchscreens that are now the subject of an investigation in New Jersey because of their spectacular failure in that state's recent primaries.
* Sixteen counties will use the Diebold Accuvote TS touchscreen model. Regular Ars readers will recall that my 2006 article, "How to steal an election by hacking the vote," described in some detail how to steal an election using this machine. (I hope that nobody from PA decides that it would be a good idea to print copies of the free PDF of this how-to article to bring to the polls with them as a form of protest, because you would probably get in trouble. So don't do that.)
* 51 counties will vote on the infamous iVotronic touchscreen from ES&S. This is the same model that brought us the Florida 13 controversy that ultimately resulted in Florida scrapping touchscreens altogether.

So as is typical this cycle, the people of PA will vote tomorrow in an election that is impossible to audit, one in which the government cannot meet its burden of proof of election integrity.

A preview of November

As the state primaries wind down, the odds that the e-voting situation will be at all improved by November just got significantly slimmer, thanks to the success of the Bush administration and House Republicans in blocking e-voting reform.

This past January, Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) introduced the Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act (H.R. 5036), which proposed a last minute, federally-funded push to help states and counties phase out paperless touchscreen e-voting machines before the November presidential contest. In addition to setting aside $600 million to fund the implementation of a paper trail in the states and counties that rely solely on paperless touchscreens, the bill has a number of great audit-related requirements that would go a long way toward ensuring the integrity of our elections.

Holt's bill passed the House of Representatives Committee on House Administration with unanimous, bipartisan support, only to be blocked by House Republicans on a near-party-line vote when it reached the floor. The White House also spoke out against the bill, opposing it on fiscal grounds.

Rep. Holt then blasted House Republicans in his own statement.

"I'd like to ask the opponents how much spending is too much to have verifiable elections in the United States. I note that many people who opposed this legislation supported spending almost $330 million in recent years to provide election assistance in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. I would have hoped those who supported efforts to export democracy abroad would be equally committed to strengthening democracy here at home," Holt said.

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