Wednesday, November 24, 2004

EFF, Push for Post-Election Tests on E-Voting Machines

For Immediate Release: November 23rd, 2004

EFF, Push for Post-Election Tests on E-Voting Machines

Independent Tests by Counties May Answer Lingering Questions About Accuracy, Machine Failures

San Francisco - On November 2, voting machines in many states -- both "red" and "blue" -- had problems that led thousands of citizens to call a national voter protection hotline. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the (VVO) were at the other end of the line, and the two organizations are very concerned about they heard. In several states, voters who chose one presidential candidate were presented with confirmation screens that listed another candidate's name. In others, machines crashed and were rebooted repeatedly, but nobody knows whether votes were lost.

EFF and VVO have responded by sending letters to voting officials in the eight counties that experienced the worst technical problems, urging the officials to allow independent testing of the machines. Such tests could reveal what went wrong and whether anyone tampered with the devices. Prominent technical experts including Rice University computer science professor Dan Wallach and security guru Bruce Schneier have agreed to help conduct these tests.

In addition to petitioning the county officials directly, EFF and VVO are calling on the public to let voting officials know that they would like to see truly independent testing of the machines used in this election.

The counties in question are Broward and Palm Beach in Florida, Mahoning and Franklin in Ohio, Mercer and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, Harris in Texas, and Bernalillo in New Mexico. Concerned citizens who live in these counties can contact their local voting officials or add their signatures to the EFF/VVO electronic petition. When 10,000 people have signed the petition, the groups will deliver a copy to the officials in the target counties.

"The election is over, but voters can still make a difference for our democracy," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "Asking that these machines be tested
independently is a crucial first step."

VVO Executive Director Will Doherty added, "We now have a chance for qualified voting technology experts to help remedy the problems we documented with paperless e-voting machines in the 2004 election."

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About EFF

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil liberties organization working to protect rights in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and challenges industry and government to support free expression and privacy online. EFF is a member-supported organization and maintains one of the most linked-to websites in the world at

About is a nonprofit organization championing reliable and publicly verifiable elections. Founded by Stanford University Computer Science Professor David Dill, the organization supports a requirement for voter-verified paper ballots on electronic voting machines allowing voters to inspect individual permanent records of their ballots and election officials to conduct meaningful recounts as needed. The organization's website is at