We'll sue if you check our machines' security!
New Jersey election officials have scrapped plans for an independent audit of Union County voting machines because the vendor, Sequoia Voting Systems, says that unauthorized third-party security reviews would violate the county's license agreement. Sequoia threatened the county with legal action when it learned that election officials were planning to send the machines to a respected Princeton University computer scientist for analysis.
California to recertify insecure voting machines
Sequoia voting machines used in five counties in New Jersey during the recent primaries exhibited unusual errors and emitted electronic tallies that were inconsistent with the total counts from the paper trail. Sequoia claims that the contradicting numbers are the result of operator error rather than a technical flaw. Election officials viewed Sequoia's explanation with skepticism and decided that the irregularity justified an independent review of the machines.
Union County went to Ed Felten, director of Princeton's Center for Information Technology Policy, who holds a seat on the Electronic Frontier Foundation's e-voting security board and has previously demonstrated the serious security failings of Diebold machines. Felten was prepared to conduct a review of the Sequoia machines, but the legal threats from Sequoia convinced the county to reconsider. "We're not going to proceed and invite a lawsuit," Union County first deputy counsel Norman Albert told the New Jersey Star-Ledger.