Sunday, April 10, 2005

ES&S: Trouble in Voting Machine Paradise

NCVV: This is the Unity software discovered to contain bad code that scrambles vote data, picks up votes from machines not in use and instructs machines to ignore votes. No reputable election official would knowingly conduct business with this vendor in lieu of the information that has surfaced regarding ES&S business practices around the nation. AR votes on these machines with bad software in Faulkner, Pulaski and Boone Counties.

ES&S sells firmware to Indiana designed NOT to tabulate votes. Indiana uses them anyway.

March 11, 2004
Election Commission Bails Out Voting Machine Maker In Time for May Primary

By Karen Hensel and Loni Smith McKown
I-Team 8

What began as an I-Team 8 investigation into voting technology got hot late Wednesday night. On the grill: Election Systems and Software (ES&S), the maker of touch-screen voting machines used in Indiana and across the nation. 

Heated debate about voting machines ignited fireworks Wednesday.

”Am I so damn stupid…that for me to use the word "work," do you understand that to run an election for something to work, it's gotta count the votes?” asked an exasperated election commissioner S. Anthony Long to ES&S executive Ken Carbullido.

Indiana election commissioners were disgusted late Wednesday night with answers to questions about new touch-screen voting systems. “If we could fine you, I'd make the motion now,” said Long. Carbullido replied, “Sir, I stand behind the answer I gave you.” Long said, “It would work. But then you tell your clerks it won't work because it won't tabulate the votes. I don't believe this.”

The I-Team first told you about a conference call last week that panicked four county clerks. They were told the certified software in their new electronic voting machines might not tabulate the votes. We have since found a way to make it work and that's why I was able to answer to you correctly today and say it will work,” said Carbullido.

“When you say we gotta use it, you say we gotta dust it off and find out ways to make it work. Come on!” said Long.

“I just think I was absolutely lied to by your CEO and I'm more than on the slow burn about it.  I sat in this room and you all lied to me. You're so derelict in your duties that you can't look at a piece of paper and answer the question? Give me a break,” said Brian Burdick, who also serves on the election commission.

They had come all the way from Omaha with apologies. “We at ES&S made the mistake of loading the wrong version of firmware on their units,” said Rob McGinnis, ES&S.

A version of embedded computer code used by Johnson, Henry and Wayne Counties in November was actually illegal because it had not been approved by the state.

“We've changed our corporate policies and procedures to require thorough reporting of the status of certifications as well as any movement of product from warehouse to customer sites to the field,” said Carbullido.

Three of the panicked clerks wanted to re-use the illegal software they used in November. A fourth clerk with brand-new machines, Vandergurgh County's Marsha Abell, was ready to throw in the towel and return her federal reimbursement money to the state. “I have my check in my folder and I'm willing to give it back to the state and use my punchcards,” she said.

“Bailing you guys out is just beyond distasteful for me,” said Burdick.

The state did bail them out. With reservations, the commission approved use of the illegal software for the May primary. “I don't want any county or the state to be out any more time or effort because of the condition ES&S has put everybody in and I think this is time to put up or shut up,” said Long.

The solution is temporary. The deadline for ES&S to certify software is October first. If the deadline isn't met, the four counties will have one short month to figure out how residents will vote this fall for governor and for president. “I just want to say, I feel sorry for you guys,” said Burdick.
A losing candidate could challenge an election conducted on uncertified equipment. ES&S will put up a $10 million performance bond against any legal expenses or problems that arise. ES&S is still racing the clock to certify new software before the fall election.


ES&S knew for over 2 years about the defects in the memory. Sold machines anyway to FL.


Post a Comment

<< Home