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National Issues

Lou Dobbs: The Voting Machine Vendors Are the Clients of the Testing Labs PDF Print Email
By CNN Transcripts   
October 28, 2006

The following is a transcript of a segment that appeared on Lou Dobbs Tonight Oct. 26, 2006.

 

LOU DOBBS: Turning now to our special series, "Democracy at Risk", it's a case of special interest over the national interest. The laboratories testing and certifying e-voting machines are paid, paid by the manufacturers of e-voting machines. It's an outrageous conflict of interest that is putting our democracy, tonight, at risk.

Kitty Pilgrim reports. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

 

KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With only 12 days before the November election, the Election Assistance Commission was begging manufacturers and testers of electronic voting machines to reassure them the election would work.

 

TOM WILKEY, executive director, Election Assistance Commission, President and Company Manager, SysTest Labs: Is my vote going to count? Your comment, please?

 

FRANK PADILLA, Test Supervisor, Wyle Laboratories : Absolutely.

 

KEITH WILSON, Manager, Wyle Laboratories: If you go to the polls, yes.

 

IAN Piper, Diebold: 100 percent.

 

PILGRIM: But at this hearing in Washington, a clear demonstration of just how cozy manufacturers are with the labs who test their machines. Executives sat elbow to elbow on the same panel and testified together.

Electronic voting machines have proven reliability and security flaws. But the labs who test and certify those machines are actually hired and paid by the manufacturers themselves.

 

WARREN STEWART, VOTETRUSTUSA: The manufacturers contract directly with the laboratories and pay for the testing that is done. So the manufacturers essentially are the clients of the testing labs.

 

PILGRIM: Sure enough, testing labs at today's hearing refer to the manufacturers as their clients.

 

FRANK PADILLA, WYLE LABORATORIES: Independent test labs normally do not release test report data to any other source but the client and who the client directs us to release them to.

 

PILGRIM: Shouldn't the testing labs be more independent of the manufacturers? The government panel ducked the question.

 

BRIAN HANCOCK, ELECTION ASSISTANCE COMM.: If there are other ways of trying to do that, we would be more than happy to hear from anyone out there that would like to talk to us. Virtually every other governmental program does it that way. (END VIDEOTAPE)

 

PILGRIM (on camera): Manufacturers say their electronic voting machines are proprietary and the labs can't release the information publicly. But voters are demanding to know why the entire process is so secret, why the manufacturers and the testing labs are defending their relationship and most importantly, why voting machines are failing in elections all across this country — Lou.

 

DOBBS: These manufacturers — the entire government must think that the American people are the biggest fools on this planet. This is absolutely — there's no other word for it. It is scurrilous, disgusting. It is ridiculous. Why in the world is anyone tolerating this relationship and this entire process?

 

PILGRIM: Well, many of the voters activists we've been talking to are delighted that some of this is coming to light, because the relationship has been so secret and so quiet that the public has not been aware.

 

DOBBS: Well, Kitty Pilgrim, thanks for making them so.

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