copyright © 1996, Electric Nevada
|Clark County's controversial new electronic voting machines will be certified for continued use, Secretary of State Dean Heller said this week.|
| The announcement came after the
Sequoia Pacific AVC Advantage machines were publicly
tested by an out-of-state examiner at the Clark County
Government Center July 12.
According to Fred Dugger, information systems manager for the state Legislative Counsel Bureau, the examiner, Michael Ian Shamos, had been recommended by Tom Stown of Henderson, an active critic of the 1,300 Sequoia Pacific electronic voting machines purchased by the Clark County Commission.
Dugger, who described himself as "another pair of eyeballs" Heller had asked to be present for the testing, told Electric Nevada that Stown had endorsed Shamos' independence based upon the examiner's earlier decertification of some Sequoia Pacific machines for Pennsylvania elections.
In that case, said Dugger, the operating software had not been up to the task of managing ballots allowing the voting of straight party lines.
But Republican Congressional District 2 candidate Pat McMillan, who has filed suit against Clark County Registrar of Voters Kathryn Ferguson, denied that Stown, who was out of town and could not be reached for comment, had recommended Shamos.
McMillan called the demonstration at the Clark government center "a farce."
"It was a vender demo sales pitch," he said, contending that Shamos was not truly independent.
"He admitted he was paid by the county, which was reimbursed by Sequoia Pacific," said McMillan.
"I figure he got about $8500 for this appearance. He has a pecuniary interest."
Shamos, an attorney and adjunct faculty member in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie-Mellon University, has been statutory examiner of electronic voting systems for Pennsylvania since 1980 and serves as the designee of the Attorney General of Texas at electronic voting examinations in that state.
Fielding questions from the Government Center audience, he recommended the Sequoia machines be certified for use in early voting.
"The machines passed every test that was conducted," said Shamos, adding that the risk of someone rigging the machines appeared minimal.
"In my opinion it would be easier to rob Fort Knox," he said.
Stown, McMillan and about 50 protesters opposed to the electronic voting machines were present for the examination of the Sequoia machines, as were representatives of the manufacturer, Sequoia Pacific corporation.
Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller announced Monday his office "will issue the certificate immediately."
"The most common complaint voiced is that there is no paper trail with this system," said Heller. "We now know that is simply not true. The ballot images can be printed
in compliance with state law."
The legal suit against Clark County Registrar Kathryn Ferguson filed by Pat McMillan charges her with a number of unlawful actions involving her efforts to install the Sequoia AVC Advantage Model D electronic voting machines. It also charges her with numerous other election violations under Nevada law.
Clark County's machines were certified for use at regular elections in 1993 by then-Secretary of State Cheryl Lau in an action that was itself controversial. The devices had cost the county $6.8 million.
A 1993 paper by Dr. Shamos, proposing a method of evaluating security measures for countering threats to computerized election systems, is posted on the Web and available at Electronic Voting - Evaluating the Threat.
Want to share your opinion? Electric Nevada's comment page is open!
Back to Electric Nevada's front Page