Burried in my summary of the broadcast of Dan Rather presents “The Trouble with Touch Screens” is a description of allegations of incompetence and/or fraud by Sequoia voting systems in their production of punchcard ballots for the 2000 election.
These are the punchcards that were used in Florida and taught Americans terms like hanging chad.
There are serious allegations. It is important that these allegations are investigated:
- Did Sequoia voting systems knowingly produce defective ballots?
- Did Sequoia voting systems intentionally produce defective ballots?
- Did Sequoia voting systems intentionally produce especially defective ballots for Palm Beach county?
- Did Sequoia voting systems attempt to cover-up the evidence of these problems?
Here is a summary of what was revealed in Dan’s report:
Sequoia Voting Systems produced the punchcard ballots used in the 2000 elections by much of Florida. They had been in the business of producing ballots like these for many years and were apparently quite good at it. But in the run up for the 2000 election something changed.
Let’s look at the details.
The election using Sequoia ballots in Florida had a lot of problems.
- in Florida 2000, 50000+ ballots were disregarded for presidential vote due to under or over votes
- 17000+ of those had 3 or more presidential votes punched
- 10000+ people in Palm Beach Florida had no selection for president
- in Fall 2006, Palm Beach country release unmarked ballots for 2000 election. Testing on these reveals significant hanging and falling chad problems when compared to earlier ballots sold by Sequoia to a different county.
Ex-Sequoia employees think they know what happened:
- Dan interviews 8 of them
- up until shortly before 2000 election quality of Sequoia paper ballots were very high
- shortly before 2000 election fishy things started happening at Sequoia
Decisions suggesting incompetence:
- paper stock supplier changed to (supposedly) Boise-Cascade who was inexperienced with this sort of paper stock
- paper stock was of lower quality
- previously rejected rolls of paper stock rerun later
- pressmen lost the ability to reject poor quality rolls of paper stock
- quality control process significantly slackened
- quality control revealed significant hanging and falling chad problems!
- management ignored reports of problems
Decisions suggesting fraud:
- special orders for Palm Beach ballots to print them short (meaning misaligned) since it was expected that humidity would shrink them. This order was considered extremely unusual and pressman refused to do it until he got signature from the plant manager
- after Florida 2000 fiasco, management ordered a cover-up; all material related to Florida or Boise-Cascade was destroyed
- ex-employees theorize that Sequoia may have intentionally sabotaged the punchcard system so that it can sell more electronic voting machines
- (From a comment and unverified by me)In 2000, Sequoia was owned by Jefferson Smurfit Co. of Ireland, a big campaign donor of Jeb Bush,…raises the possibility that management of Sequoia was biased
Sequoia has a response to the show here: