April 17, 2014

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Oral Arguments 12/4 in NJ Voting-Machine Lawsuit

Note new date and time!

This election day, New Jersey voters will vote–if electricity is restored and if they can get to the polls after the hurricane–on a model of voting machine that I have personally demonstrated how to hack.  My hack is simple: prepare fraudulent vote-stealing software on a memory chip, make thousands of copies of the chip, and install the fraudulent chip on as many actual voting machines as possible before an election.

What I demonstrated for the NJ trial court in 2009 was how the fraudulent software moves votes from one candidate’s tally to the other, and how to install the memory chip into the voting machine.  In the courtroom I removed and replaced the supposedly tamper-evident seals, without leaving evidence of tampering.  In real life, voting machines are left unattended and unguarded at polling sites (schools, churches, firehouses) for days before each election.  Anyone can master the simple tool (razor blades) for peeling away the adhesive seals, and the simple tool (screwdriver) for installing the fraudulent chip.

On December 4, 2012 (see revised hearing information at the end of this post), the NJ Appellate Division will consider, for the third time in eight years, whether New Jersey’s paperless voting machines can continue to be used.  Despite overwhelming science showing that NJ’s paperless electronic voting machines (DREs), like any computer, can be hacked, made to cheat, and lie about cheating, the trial court considering the case ignored this scientific evidence.  No competing scientific evidence was presented at trial.

The Rutgers Law School Constitutional Litigation Clinic challenged the DREs in 2004 as violating the NJ Constitution, and Title 19 of the NJ Statutes.  Both require that all voting machines used in the State count votes as cast.  Their legal argument is based on my own scientific research, i.e., that because votes can be manipulated so readily on NJ’s DREs–and there is no way to check whether the DRE is cheating, we have no way of knowing whether those voting machines comply with NJ law.  The legal argument is a strong one.  But, the trial judge ignored it in the same way that she ignored my scientific research.

We would like to show the Appellate Division that the public cares about this issue and wants their vote to count.  Over 35 states now require that voting machines be auditable.  Although NJ passed great laws along these lines in 2005 and 2006, they have never been implemented, and were later suspended due to budgetary constraints.

The way to show the Court that you care about this issue is to come to the oral argument on December 4 at 10 a.m., at the Appellate Division Part E, Brennan Courthouse, 583 Newark Ave., Jersey City, NJ 07306. 8th Floor, N. Wing, Hughes Justice Complex, Trenton, NJ. POSTPONED until a date yet to be determined.

The Coalition for Peace Action, the lead Plaintiff in the case, is organizing buses and cars for all those who are interested in attending the argument.  If you are interested in attending, please contact .  If you have any questions about the legal issues in the case, please feel free to contact Prof. Penny Venetis at Rutgers.

One more thing:  For years we have urged New Jersey to switch to auditable op-scan paper ballots, following the better practice of the majority of the States.  With op-scan ballots, you don’t need electricity to vote.  Sure, it’s better with electricity, because then the voter can feed her ballot into the precinct-count machine and have it counted right away.  But if all the high-tech fails, the voters can simply fill out the op-scan forms for counting later.  The robustness of op-scan ballots is  something for us to consider, as we wonder whether all the power will be restored in New Jersey before Tuesday’s election.

[11/27/12: Venue corrected from Jersey City to Trenton]

[11/29/12:  Oral arguments are postponed.]

Note new time!

Time:  10:00 a.m. 11:30 a.m., March 5, 2013  (but arrive significantly earlier, because it takes some time to get through security).

Place:  8th Floor, N. Wing, Hughes Justice Complex, Trenton, NJ.   Specifically,  Part E: Judges Messano, Ostrer and Lihotz.

Comments

  1. Samuel J. Serata says:

    Andrew:

    If I am not mistaken, arrangements can be made to have the argements televised on the internet. Someone should check and then publicize the webcite.

    Sam Serata