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Boulder Colorado Daily

Man vs. machine

September 19, 2006
By STEVEN K. PAULSON Associated Press Writer

Claiming unsecure electronic voting machines are a threat to the integrity of the November elections, 13 Colorado voters are asking a judge to bar their use on grounds that the state failed to do the tests required by law.

“These unreliable and insecure Direct Recording Electronic computerized systems have disrupted elections across the country and have created a crisis in voter confidence,” said Paul Hultin, a lawyer for the voters in a case that goes to trial Wednesday in Denver District Court.

The lawyers are asking the judge to bar use of the machines in nine counties. The lawyers claim the machines made by Diebold Election Systems, Sequoia Voting Systems, Electronic Systems and Software and Hart InterCivic were not properly certified by Secretary of State Gigi Dennis.

Dennis is required by state law to appoint experts to test, evaluate and certify electronic voting machines, and to file a report.

In a deposition released last week, the state employee who conducted at least some of the tests said he had no formal training in computer science. The lawsuit claims Dennis failed to file the required report on the tests.

Kristen Holtzman, spokeswoman for Attorney General John Suthers, said the machines performed well during the recent primary election. ...


Michelle Schafer, a spokeswoman for Sequoia Voting Systems, said the company's system has been certified by the federal government and other states. ...


Mark Radke, a spokesman for Diebold, said several lawsuits have been filed nationwide by a small minority who oppose the technology. ...

Attorneys for the voters cited warnings from experts that the new electronic voting machines are unreliable and election results could be altered.

Douglas Jones, an associate computer professor at the University of Iowa, said in a deposition for the lawsuit against Dennis that many states rushed to get electronic voting machines to comply with new federal laws after problems with the 2000 presidential election. He said many electronic voting systems rely on old technology.

“While many older voting systems do have severe defects, the rush to fund the purchase of large numbers of new voting systems in the aftermath of passage of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 was a mistake. The potential gains from a corrupt election are immense,” Jones said.

Mike Williams, another attorney representing the plaintiffs, said Colorado could be in violation of federal law if it doesn't have at least one electronic voting machine in each county for disabled voters. ...