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House Encourages Florida Court to Allow Access to E-voting Source Code, Hardware PDF  | Print |  Email
By Matt Zimmerman, Electronic Frontier Foundation   
January 05, 2007

This article was posted at EFF's Deep Links Blog. It is reposted here with permission of the author.


Another key member of the House of Representatives has weighed in on the disputed Florida Congressional election, saying that not only the litigants but the House itself would benefit from more open discovery. On Thursday, the incoming Chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, which has the responsibility for evaluating any House election contest, submitted a letter to the Florida First District Court of Appeal expressing concern with the inability of the Plaintiffs to pursue their claims.


In her letter, Chairwoman Millender-McDonald (D-CA) stated:

It is [...] of concern that the parties have been unable to agree upon, and that, on December 29th, the lower court declined to order, the requested access to the hardware and software (including the source code) needed to test the contestant's central claim: voting machine malfunction.
Judge Denies Plaintiff Motion to Review Paperless Voting Machine Source Code in Contested Election PDF  | Print |  Email
By Brad Friedman, The Brad Blog   
December 29, 2006

Court finds Plaintiff's Request for 'Access to Trade Secrets' of ES&S Would 'Result in Destroying, Gutting' Voting Machine Company's 'Protections'


Judge Rules Jennings, Voters Motion Based on 'Nothing More Than Conjecture' --- UPDATES: Appeal Said Likely, Additional Late Details on Congressional Challenge in Race


This article was posted at Brad Blog and is reposted here with permission of the author. 


In a ruling issued this afternoon, the presiding Florida Circuit Court Judge William L. Gary denied the plaintiffs motion to allow review of the source code for the paperless touch-screen machines used in the contested U.S. House race in Florida's 13th district between Democrat Christine Jennings and Republican Vern Buchanan.

Jennings, and a number of Florida voters and Election Integrity organizations had filed suit asking for a revote and to allow them to review the software used on the voting machines made by Election Systems and Software, Inc. (ES&S) after some 18,000 votes seem to have disappeared in the race to fill the U.S. House seat vacated by former FL Secretary of State Katherine Harris. The state has previously certified Buchanan as the winner by a 369 vote margin.


Gary's terse ruling [PDF], issued this afternoon denying the motion to compel the company to turn over their source code, states that ES&S has a right to keep their software hidden from review by both the Jennings camp and voters, supporting the company's "right" to keep their "trade secrets" protected.

Holt to Support Jennings Contest on House Floor PDF  | Print |  Email
By Rep. Rush Holt Press Release   
December 29, 2006

House Record to Reflect That Jennings Challenge is Justified, House Action Will Not Prejudice Legal Proceedings or Legislative Inquiry


Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) today announced that he intends to take steps to put the U.S. House of Representatives on record as recognizing the justification of the electoral challenge filed by Congressional candidate Christine Jennings regarding the disputed election in Florida's 13th Congressional District, and making clear that any House proceedings on January 4, 2007, will not prejudice legal proceedings or legislative inquiry regarding the election's validity.

"It is a matter of fundamental fairness, of good government, and of accountability that we get to the bottom of this election," said Rep. Rush Holt.  "It is imperative that every election reflect the will of voters accurately.  In the case of Florida-13, there is no way to know whether result presented by the Florida Secretary of State is valid - in fact, there is significant evidence that it is not.  18,000 missing votes in a race certified on the basis of a 369 vote margin is an overwhelming indication that something went wrong."

According to evidence provided in the Florida case, to date, 18,000 ballots cast on electronic voting machines did not record the voter's selection for the House of Representatives, more than enough to change the outcome of the election, which was awarded to Vernon Buchanan by a margin of 369 votes.  Had all votes been counted, the outcome would have been different, according to Dr. Michael Herron, an independent expert hired by ES&S, the manufacturer of the electronic voting machines used in Florida-13.

Orlando Sentinel Editorial: Drop Touch-screens PDF  | Print |  Email
By Orlando Sentinel   
December 25, 2006
Our position: It's time to pull the plug on the failed experiment of electronic voting.

This editorial was posted December 24, 2006 in the Orlando Sentinel.

Nothing is more sacred or vital to the survival of democracy than the ability to cast a vote with the confidence that vote will be counted accurately.

And yet the very foundation of this principle was shaken by the fiasco in Sarasota County on Nov. 7, when ATM-styled touch-screen machines showed more than 18,000 voters made no choice in one of the most hotly contested congressional races in the country. After a ridiculous "recount" in name only, the official returns show that Republican Vern Buchanan defeated Democrat Christine Jennings in District 13 by 369 votes out of 238,249 counted.

But that result isn't worth the paper the electronic ballots were not printed on. Without paper trail to independently validate the electronic vote, the mandatory recount amounted to hitting the rewind button and replaying the machines' sad song.
Florida Voters To Next Congress: This Time, Let Us Finish Tallying the Vote PDF  | Print |  Email
By VoterAction   
December 21, 2006

"Florida voters are respectfully asking the next Congress not to stop the deliberate Florida process of deciding this election," said attorney Lowell Finley, Co-director of Voter Action and lead counsel in the non-partisan voters' lawsuit contesting the 7 November Congressional District 13 (CD 13) race where 18,000 votes went missing.


The new 110th Congress, which convenes in less than two weeks, will effectively shut down two election contests proceeding through Florida courts - one on behalf of candidate Christine Jennings and a second, nonpartisan lawsuit on behalf of Sarasota County voters - if it simply, and unconditionally, seats one or the other candidate. Voter Action and its legal partner organizations represent Democrats, Republicans, and those registered No Party Affiliation. This second contest on behalf of voters is not concerned with who wins the race - but with whether the final result accurately represents the voices of CD13 voters. Of broader national significance is whether the new e-voting systems used in CD 13, functioned properly. Mounting evidence says they did not.

Two Florida Candidates File Election Contests in the U.S. House PDF  | Print |  Email
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
December 21, 2006

Download District 13 Contest (Jennings)

Download 24 Contest (Curtis)


Two candidates for Florida Congressional Districts have filed formal election contests with the U.S. House yesterday under the Federal Contested Election Act of 1969. Clint Curtis was a candidate for Florida’s District 24, while Christine Jennings ran for the state’s District 13 seat. Both elections are also being challenged in State Circuit court in Tallahassee. The contest will be referred to the House Administration Committee.

Curtis makes the argument that it is unconstitutional and a violation of UN Human Rights conventions and international law to refuse to disclose source coding on electronic machinery such as is the case in Florida and elsewhere.  In a press statement Curtis, citing his background as a computer programmer, noted that elections may be rigged and stolen completely in the software and so to refuse the ability to audit source code and test same is not worthy of any self-respecting democracy.
Meanwhile, with the outcome of the state level legal challenges of the certified lection results in Florida’s hotly contested 13th District race still unresolved, Jennings is asking Congress to consider a revote if the legal challenge in Florida is unsuccessful. In both the contest and the lawsuit, Jennings is seeking access to the source code used to program the ES&S iVotronics used in early voting and on Election Day in Sarasota county. ES&S is refusing to allow an independent review of their source code, claiming that it is protected by contractual trade secret agreements.

Florida Voting System Standards: Commentary PDF  | Print |  Email
By Rebecca Mercuri, Notable Software   
December 14, 2006

I have reviewed the “Florida Voting System Standards” document issued by Glenda Hood, Florida’s former Secretary of State, published by the Florida Division of Elections, Bureau of Voting System Certification as Form DS-DE 101, Eff. 1-12-05. I was not able to ascertain whether this is the most recent version of this document. I will refer to this document as FLVSS through this comment.

The FLVSS provides insight and direction regarding the certification of voting machines that may be deemed acceptable for use in the State of Florida. The FLVSS correctly defines a voting system as consisting “of a configuration of specific hardware and software components, procedures and expendable supplies” and also states that “no single component of a voting system, such as a precinct tabulation device, meets the definition of a voting system.” This is necessary, because the components, collectively and independently, can control and influence various aspects of the election.

Florida 13: Sarasota Offered Faulty Information to Voters Concerning Undervote Confirmation Process PDF  | Print |  Email
By Brad Friedman, The Brad Blog   
December 10, 2006

County Elections Website Claims Voters Asked for Specific 'YES or NO' Confirmation of Undervotes at End of Voting Process - Sources Confirm it Didn't Happen That Way in Contested FL-13 U.S. House Race on November 7th...


This article appeared on The Brad Blog and is reposted here with permission of the author.


An instructional web page, explaining the ES&S touch-screen electronic voting machines in use during Florida's disputed FL-13 U.S. House Election gives faulty information to voters about the way the county's paperless voting systems works, The BRAD BLOG has learned.


The information offered on the County's election website, concerning the crucial process during which voters might choose to adjust any "undervotes" found on their electronic "ballots" at the end of the voting process, is misleading and incorrect. According to several sources, the systems in use during the contested November 7th U.S. House race between Vern Buchanan (R) and Christine Jennings (D) did not operate as promised on the Sarasota website.

Testing Undervote Hypotheses in Sarasota: Declaration of Technical Expert Dan Wallach PDF  | Print |  Email
By Dan Wallach, Rice University   
December 03, 2006

These excerpts are drawn from Dan Wallach's declaration in the contest of Florida's 13th congressional district Election. The complete declaration is available for download here.

I have been asked to provide my opinion concerning information and equipment that might be necessary to conduct a forensic investigation on the recent election in Sarasota County, whose purpose would be to determine the cause or causes of the unusually high undervote rate in the race for the 13th Congressional District. This declaration will continue with three main sections: hypotheses which might explain the undervote rate in Sarasota County’s recent election, common terminology used when discussing elections, and hardware, software, and information that would be necessary to conduct a thorough forensic investigation of the undervote rate recent election in Sarasota County.

Jennings Campaign Sues Voting-Machine Manufacturer ES&S PDF  | Print |  Email
By Christine Jennings Press Release   
December 02, 2006
Jennings: “There is a real crisis in confidence among voters…This is a test case for the entire nation.”

With strong indications “that the staggeringly large number of undervotes in Sarasota County is due to the malfunctioning of the iVotronic electronic voting machines,” the Christine Jennings campaign today joined iVotronic manufacturer Election Systems and Software, Inc. (ES&S) to its election contest in an effort to obtain a thorough independent examination of the entire voting system including the “source code.”

“There is a real crisis in confidence among voters, not just in Florida but throughout the country,” said Christine Jennings. “The voters of District 13 deserve answers, but this case has much wider implications beyond Florida.  This is a test case for the entire nation.”
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