15 August 2007

Sequoia Voting Systems Responsible for 2000 Presidential Debacle?

Kim Zetter - August 15, 2007

It's been seven years since pregnant and dangling chads in Florida caused one of the biggest political rifts in U.S. history. Those faulty Florida ballots also directly led to the passage of federal legislation in 2002 that outlawed punch-card voting machines and allocated billions of dollars in federal funds for states to purchase expensive new electronic voting machines.

Now new questions are being raised about who was responsible for the faulty punch cards in that election. And according to last night's Dan Rather Reports episode, the fingers point to Sequoia Voting Systems, which not only makes e-voting machines that replaced punch cards but also created the punch cards that failed in Florida.

Rather and his producers spoke with several former workers of Sequoia who revealed that in 2000 the company changed the paper stock it used for punch cards to paper made by Boise Cascade and that they knew before the election that the punch cards that Sequoia was producing would cause problems. In fact, pre-election testing by Sequoia showed that the cards were not punching cleanly and that dangling chads were going to be a likely problem in the election. The original transcript from the Rather program is difficult to read because it lacks punctuation and paragraph breaks, but I've added paragraph breaks here so you can understand more clearly what the workers told Rather. You can also watch the entire Dan Rather report, The Trouble with Touch Screens, here.


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