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Alameda County Seek Sequoia Testing Before Payment

Alameda County Voters Demand Security Testing of Sequoia Electronic Voting Systems Prior to Payment

County Registrar must provide Board of Supervisors' mandated security vulnerability testing

San Francisco, CA, August 31, 2006 - A group of Alameda County voters has written to the Alameda County Counsel in an effort to halt the county's payment for or use of the Sequoia touch screen electronic voting system in November and future elections until the system has passed independent, expert security vulnerability testing. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors required this testing as a condition before payment to Sequoia Voting Systems in its vote on June 8th. In their attorney's letter to David MacDonald, Alameda County's Acting Registrar of Voters, the voters requested that the Sequoia system be submitted to independent testing to ensure that it is not vulnerable to hacking that could alter election results, or face a legal action asking the CA Superior Court in Alameda to order the testing.

"Alameda County's current Purchase Agreement with Sequoia appears to have been signed on June 16th; little more than a week after the Board of Supervisors added the provision for the independent security test. This provision was not included in the final purchase contract, and as of today, the necessary testing has not been performed nor is it planned," said Robert Friese, counsel for the plaintiffs, and a partner in Shartsis Friese, LLP in San Francisco. "It is hard to understand why the Registrar of Voters would not want to test the Sequoia touch screen system, when he has support of the Board of Supervisors, and when serious questions have been raised about its reliability and trustworthiness".

"Alameda voters are demanding the right to a fair election -- one that ensures that the candidate with the most votes wins", Mr. Friese said. "The Registrar of Voters has the charge to ensure election security, and the voters will proceed with a legal action if he side-steps this responsibility".

"The Supervisors' mandated security testing of the Sequoia touch screen system is of great importance for Alameda County, and for the rest of the country as well," said Lowell Finley, Esq., co-director of Voter Action, and co-counsel in the pending California voters' lawsuit to halt the State's use of Diebold Accuvote TSx touch screen voting systems. "While several independent security tests have been conducted on Diebold electronic voting machines, which found them to be vulnerable to hacking in multiple and undetectable ways, none have been conducted on the Sequoia system. This is troublesome, as both Diebold and Sequoia have a history of lost and switched votes and breakdowns that cause long lines and disenfranchise voters at the polls".

"California voters have a right to accurate, secure, and verifiable elections. The purity of our elections is too important to turn over to private corporations with no accountability," said Holly Jacobson, co-director of Voter Action.

Voter Action is supporting the Alameda County voters' effort to ensure that the Sequoia system is tested and proven secure. Voter Action is a non-profit, non-partisan organization providing legal, research and organization support to grassroots groups dedicated to election integrity in the US. Voter Action supported successful litigation in New Mexico to block purchase and use of the types of voting machines that are most prone to error and most vulnerable to tampering, and is currently supporting similar efforts in Arizona, California, Colorado, New York, and Pennsylvania with additional action planned for Ohio. Voter Action is a project of the International Humanities Center, a 501c3 non-profit organization.

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