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Denver Post

Weld voting method under scrutiny

September 21, 2006
By Katy Human
Denver Post Staff Writer

State officials defended their approval of four brands of electronic voting machines for Colorado in district court Wednesday, saying that at least 18 other states have also approved the machines and that fears of hackers and fraud are overstated.

The state is trying to fend off a lawsuit by 13 citizens claiming state officials improperly certified the machines without adequate documentation or attention to security.

The state relied on security guarantees from the manufacturers, the plaintiffs said.

Testifying for the plaintiffs, Doug Jones, a computer expert at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, said it would be easy to reprogram one of Colorado's electronic voting machines.

"You could turn it into a Nintendo machine," Jones said.

Every Colorado county used at least one of the devices in this year's primary.

If Denver District Judge Lawrence Manzanares finds for the plaintiffs, it could result in limited use of electronic machines in the Nov. 7 election or force counties to print hundreds of thousands of paper ballots.

County clerks have been purchasing electronic voting machines since 2002 to adhere to a federal voting law passed after the contentious 2000 presidential election.

Electronic voting machines have come under scrutiny, after Princeton University computer scientists hacked into one ...


Plaintiffs argued that secretary of state officials didn't perform the security tests mandated by state law before certifying voting machines, made by Diebold, Sequoia Voting Systems Inc., Elections Systems & Software Inc. and Hart Inter Civic Inc.

"The process was deeply flawed," said Paul Hultin, an attorney for the plaintiffs, ...

State Deputy Attorney General Maurice Knaizer noted the machines are already certified by the federal government, ...

John Gardner, who oversaw voting machine certification for the secretary of state, said machine security was evaluated. ...

Manzanares asked if a hacker might be able to do what Gardner could not.

"There's always the possibility," Gardner said, ...

"We have perfect confidence in these machines," said Alton Dillard II, the communications director for the Denver Election Commission.


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