CLEVELAND - April 23 - Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, who has been sounding warning alarms regarding electronic voting systems since he began his campaign last year, today called on federal, state and local election officials to suspend immediately the implementation of any voting systems that do not provide a 100 percent reliable paper-trail back-up to corroborate results.
A decision yesterday by the eight-member California Voting Systems and Procedures Panel that 15,000 electronic voting machines in four counties be banned in the November election because of glitches in the March primary election is more than enough evidence that these systems could undermine the integrity and affect the results of Novembers general election, Kucinich said.
Especially in terms of the Presidential election, Kucinich said, we cannot entrust the future of our country to technologies that are flawed, suspect, and proven to have failed, especially when those technologies have been developed by companies that have their own political agendas.
Diebold Election Systems, which came under the harshest criticism from the California elections panel, is headed by Chief Executive Officer Walden O'Dell, who last year became active in the re-election effort of President Bush, even attending a strategy meeting with wealthy Bush benefactors at the President's private ranch in Texas. Soon after, ODell wrote a fundraising letter where he said he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."
Although Diebold is the most embattled voting equipment company, Newsday reported that paperless systems made by Sequoia Voting Systems Inc. and other competitors also expose elections to malicious attack, software glitches and mechanical errors that could delete or alter millions of ballots. The story went on to report a variety of other problems in Indiana, Maryland, and other states. According to Newsday, Because votes that only exist in electronic form can be altered or deleted, Oregon, New Hampshire and Illinois require paper ballots; and California, Missouri and Nevada will require paper backups on touchscreen terminals by 2006. The newspaper also reported that Secretaries of state in Washington and West Virginia are calling for paper trails, while Ohio is reconsidering the switch to new machines.
Kucinich said he will take his challenges to the newly created federal agency charged with overseeing electronic voting, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, established in January, which will conduct a May 5 public hearing in Washington, D.C. on May 5.
The technological problems are real, Kucinich said, and the potential for further problems, mischief, and outright fraud is equally real, and far more dangerous.
(Extensive information on electronic voting systems is available at http://www.kucinich.us/e-voting/intro.php
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