Sequoia AVC Edge

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The Sequoia AVC Edge[1] is a Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machine with a voter-verified paper audit trail[2] by Sequoia Voting Systems. This article generally describes the specific AVC Edge model.

Main article: Voting machines

Design and operation

Voter verification

With the optional VeriVote printer the Sequoia AVC Edge has a federally-qualified voter-verified paper audit trail capability.

Brief description

The Sequoia AVC Edge is a voter-activated multilingual touchscreen system that records votes on internal flash memory. Voters insert a "smart-card" into the machine and then make their choices by touching an area on a computer screen, much in the same way that modern ATMs work. The votes are then recorded to internal electronic flash memory. If the Edge is equipped with the VeriVote Printer, the voter’s choices are recorded to a paper audit trail and the voter has the opportunity to compare the contents of the paper with the display onscreen. When polls close, the votes for a particular machine are written to a “PCMCIA card” which are removed from the system and either physically transported to election headquarters or their contents transmitted via computer network.

Detailed Voting Process

When the voter enters the precinct, he or she is given a "smartcard" by a poll worker after confirming the voter is registered. A "smart-card" is a card the size and shape of a credit-card which contains a computer chip, some memory and possibly basic data such as the voter's political party. The voter then takes the smartcard to a voting machine and inserts the smart-card into the yellow slot visible in the middle picture above. The first screen presented to the voter is one that allows him or her to choose the ballot language. After using the touchscreen to vote, 1) the record of the vote is directly recorded electronically to two flash memory cards and 2) the voter's smart card is reset to ensure that the voter can only vote once. The AVC Edge may also be equipped in some precincts to print a voter-verified paper audit trail using the VeriVote printer. In this case, the voter will inspect the printout which is displayed underneath glass. If the paper accurately reflects the vote, the voter indicates so using the touchscreen and casts the vote; the printed paper is withdrawn into the machine to protect privacy. If the paper is incorrect, the voter may mark it as spoiled and change his or her vote using the touchscreen interface. After the vote is cast, the smart-card pops out of the machine and the voter returns it to a poll worker.

When the polls close, a poll worker or election official inserts a different-type of smart card, an administrator card, into each voting machine and puts the machine into a postelection mode where it will no longer record votes. At this point, the machine writes the votes from its internal memory to flash memory on a "PCMCIA card.” The PCMCIA card is merely a removable form of flash memory. A printed tape of all votes cast or vote totals for the voting machine can also be printed out at this time depending on local procedure and regulations.

The PCMCIA cards are removed from each machine and either taken to a central tabulation facility or to remote tabulation facilities, along with the contents of the VeriVote Printer, if applicable. At the tabulation facility the votes are copied from the PCMCIA cards and into a central computer database where precincts are combined to result in an aggregate vote. The votes may also be transmitted to the central tabulation facility via a closed "Intranet", the Internet or modem. The PCMCIA cards and possible any printouts from the voting machines can then become part of the official record of the election.

Reported problems

Pre-2008 election

  • March 2006: Florida. Touch screen voting machines malfunction, switch votes on the screen. One candidate watched his vote for himself switch to his opponent.[3] Group calls for audit of March 7 elections. Members say the results are “highly suspect” after an elections staffer was given the code to a computer server.[3]
  • November 2004: Washington. Voters in at least four polling precincts in Snohomish County said they have encountered problems with the Sequoia electronic voting machines. When they touched the screen to vote for a candidate, an indicator showed they had selected the opposing candidate. It took at least four attempts before the indicator showed the correct candidate.[3]
  • October 2004: New Mexico. Votes change on the screen and are resistant to voter's attempt to vote for their choice.[3]
  • September 2004: Florida. High percentages of undervotes in the primary election present the county with an unanswerable question since the paperless machines provide no method of doing an audit.[3]
  • June 2004: New Jersey. In Morris County, the central tabulation system could not read the data from the PCMCIA cards. The system showed zeros.[4]
  • November 2003: California. After a battery problem occurred during the election in Santa Clara County, Sequoia technicians worked on the machines without oversight from county officials. Following November's election in Santa Clara County, Sequoia sent over a group of technicians to make adjustments to voting machines that experienced battery problems.[5]
  • November 2002: New Mexico. In Bernalillo County, 48,000 people voted early but no race showed more than 36,000 votes. The cause was a software bug.[6]
  • April 2002: Florida. In Hillsborough County, one precinct could not transfer data on 24 out of 26 PCMCIA cards. Results summaries were faxed in and entered by hand.[7] In
  • March 2003, a similar problem plagued 2 out of 678 PCMCIA cards.[8]
  • March 2002: Florida. In Palm Beach County much went wrong. When voters selected their language, the Edge froze up. Other reports indicate votes registering for wrong candidate.[9] 15 PCMCIA cards were temporarily lost and central system would not report result. In a race won by 4 votes, 78 were blank; voters reported erratic machine behavior.[10]
  • November 2000: California. During the 2000 presidential election in Riverside County, a computer from Sequoia began dropping touch-screen ballots from the vote tally. A Sequoia salesman who was on hand intervened and fixed the problem.[11]


NASED Qualification Status

The National Association of State Election Directors NASED Qualification Status:[12]

  • 06/09/99: Sequoia AVC Edge DRE (firmware 1.0)
  • 01/30/01: Sequoia AVC Edge DRE (firmware 1.02, 1.02B)
  • 07/25/02: Sequoia AVC Edge DRE (firmware 4.0)
  • 08/18/03: Sequoia AVC Edge DRE 3.1 Firmware version 4.1D
  • 10/09/03: Sequoia AVC Edge DRE Firmware version 4.2
  • 10/23/03: Sequoia AVC Edge DRE Firmware version 4.1J/K
  • 07/16/04: Sequoia AVC Edge, Model I version 4.2
  • 07/16/04: Sequoia AVC Edge, Model II version 4.2
  • 07/16/04: VeriVote voter-verifiable printer subsystem.[13]
  • 09/03/04: Sequoia AVC Edge Model II Ver. 4.2a, Model I Ver. 4.10, Model I Ver. 4.2a
  • 10/20/04: Sequoia AVC Edge Model II Ver. 4.2a, & 4.3.320 w. VeriVote Printer#Sequoia AVC Edge Model I Ver. 4.10, 4.2a, & 4.3.307
  • 5/19/05: Sequoia AVC Edge Model II Ver. 4.3.320 w. VeriVote Printer#Sequoia AVC Edge Model I Ver. 4.3.320 ( 3/17/06: AVC Edge I 5.0.24, AVC Edge II 5.0.24, AVC Edge I 5.0.24, AVC Edge II 5.0.24, Edge Audio Unit 5.0

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References

Note: This article was originally copied from the Electronic Frontier Foundation's fact sheet, "Electronic Voting Machine Information Sheet: Diebold Election Systems — AccuVote-TSx", Version 1.1 of October 29, 2006. See more EFF articles on voting machines at http://w2.eff.org/Activism/E-voting/protection.php

  1. See: http://www.sequoiavote.com/productguide.php?product=AVC%20Edge
  2. When equipped with a VeriVote printer.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 See http://www.votersunite.org/info/Sequoiainthenews.pdf
  4. "Montville and Chatham mayors ousted." NEW JERSEY STAR-LEDGER, June 9, 2004.
  5. “Electronic voting's hidden perils.” SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. February 1, 2004.
  6. "Election results certified after software blamed." ALBUQUERQUE TRIBUNE, November 19, 2002.
  7. "Officials still searching for election glitch: The new system could not send the tabulations to the elections office." ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, April 6, 2002.
  8. "Elections Chief Sees Nearly Flawless Vote." ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, March 5, 2003.
  9. "Human goofs, not machines, drag vote tally into next day." PALM BEACH POST, 14 March 2002.
  10. "Out of Touch: You press the screen. The machine tells you that your vote has been counted. But how can you be sure?" NEW TIMES, April 24, 2003.
  11. Supra note 2.
  12. NASED Qualified Voting Systems (11/18/2005). National Association of State Election Directors. See: http://www.nased.org/certification.htm.
  13. “Sequoia Voting Systems Successfully Passes Federal Testing of VeriVote Printer Upgrade for Touch Screen Voting System.” July 16, 2004. See http://www.businesswire.com/webbox/bw.071604/241985509.htm

References: “DRE Security Assessment, Volume 1, Computerized Voting Systems, Summary of Findings and Recommendations,” InfoSENTRY, 21 Nov. 2003. See: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/hava/files/InfoSentry1.pdf

“Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) Technical Security Assessment Report,” Compuware Corporation, 21 Nov. 2003. See: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/hava/files/compuware.pdf


External resources

“Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting Machine ,” Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University, September, 2006. See http://itpolicy.princeton.edu/voting/. Diebold’s response may be found at http://www.diebold.com/dieboldes/pdf/princetonstatement.pdf.

Tadayoshi Kohno, Adam Stubblefield, Aviel D. Rubin, and Dan S. Wallach, “Analysis of an Electronic Voting Machine”, IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy 2004. IEEE Computer Society Press, May 2004. See: http://avirubin.com/vote.pdf

“DRE Security Assessment, Volume 1, Computerized Voting Systems, Summary of Findings and Recommendations,” InfoSENTRY, 21 Nov. 2003. See: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/hava/files/InfoSentry1.pdf

“Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) Technical Security Assessment Report,” Compuware Corporation, 21 Nov. 2003. See: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/hava/files/compuware.pdf

“Risk Assessment Report: Diebold Accuvote-TS Voting System and Processes (redacted)”, Science Applications International Corporation SAIC-6099-2003-261, Sept. 2, 2003. See: http://www.dbm.maryland.gov/SBE

“Trusted Agent Report -- Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting System,” RABA Technologies, Jan. 20, 2004. See: http://www.raba.com/text/press/TA_Report_AccuVote.pdf


External articles