Defend the Vote has publicized the fact that the Dominion/Sequoia voting systems used in Chicago and Suburban Cook County have never passed the error testing requirements set out by the 2003 Voting Systems Standards as required by Illinois Law, and that there are HAVA compliance issues with these machines. (Yes, it’s sad but true; machines used nationally to count millions of votes were never federally certified.) We have challenged the validity of the current Illinois State Board of Election’s certification of these machines, and assert these machines cannot be recertified in Illinois before the November 2014 Governor’s elections. We alerted various authorities of these deficiencies and made sure to let budget departments so they can prepare to fund new equipment this Spring.
Defend the Vote raised the question of the Edge2Plus’s and the related WinEDS voting system’s certification with Howard Crammer, a VP from Dominion. To date, he has failed to produce any official document proving that the voting systems used in Chicago and Suburban Cook County have been certified by the EAC as passing Federal error testing requirements. The EAC is the government body that does this certification.
On February 19, 2014 at the Chicago Board of Election's Board meeting, Commissioner Cowen requested to place the sale of Chicago electronic voting machines “for parts” on the agenda for April 2014. During the meeting, they commented on an article discussed at an earlier meeting from USA Today that verifies what we said in earlier Board appearances; the manufacturers of electronic voting machines are all discontinuing them because they cannot be secured from fraud, and the entire industry is moving back to paper ballots.
On one hand, this is fantastic news. It comes with an important notation by Executive Director Lance Gough, who said:
“We are still going to keep looking at it. (…) I did put an item into our books for upgrades, so it is something that we are looking at, and getting funding from other bodies, so I think it may be sooner than you think.”
This is not the first time that Mr. Gough has foreshadowed that a deal is in the making for new voting machines in Chicago.
On the other hand, it is not only the Dominion/Sequoia Edge2Plus voting machines that need to be replaced. The Central Counting 400c machine that counts tens of thousands of absentee ballots has never been certified, either. In fact, Dominion withdrew the 400c machine from testing after it repeatedly failed the error tests! Yet, it is still being used by Chicago and Suburban Cook County to count our absentee and military ballots...
Defend the Vote is dedicated to getting secure and certified election machines throughout Illinois. This is an important milestone and a step in the right direction, but it brings up yet more questions; such as, is it ethical to sell those flawed election machines to other jurisdictions?