Says 'The security of our elections and the integrity of our democracy is in jeopardy'
By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2006, 10:59am PT  

It appears that Election Integrity advocates have a staunch new ally in their fight for clean, legitimate elections in the United States of America. And he's hardly a "lefty," a "conspiracy theorist" or a "sour grapes" guy.

Conservative CNN anchor Lou Dobbs hammered on Electronic Voting machines and the company's that own them for the third straight day yesterday on his show, Lou Dobbs Tonight.

Yesterday, his report led off with these clear words: "The security of our elections and the integrity of our democracy is in jeopardy."

While Dobb's initial focus for his reports concerns the foreign ownership of the Sequoia Voting Systems company (recently purchased by Smartmatic, a Venezuelan firm said to be tied to Hugo Chavez), his reports, and the guests he's interviewed, also focus on the broader aspect of private ownership of all the voting machine company's running our public elections, as well as the security vulnerabilities of the hackable and unreliable electronic machines.

We're working on getting the video up (the video and transcript from the report the day before is here), but in the meantime, here's the transcript from last night's installment which featured Warren Stewart from and computer security expert Avi Rubin of Johns Hopkins University...

Lou Dobbs Tonight - June 6, 2006

DOBBS: The security of our elections and the integrity of our democracy is in jeopardy. Nationwide, there is concern and even alarm that electronic voting machines are simply too easily compromised and vulnerable to fraud. And as we've been reporting on this broadcast for the past several evenings, there is a new threat, and that threat originates in the Venezuelan ownership of one of the country's leading electronic voting machine companies.

Kitty Pilgrim reports...


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice over): In California, New Jersey, and New Mexico, some jurisdictions are using Sequoia voting machines. The voting machine company was bought in 2005 by Smartmatic, which bills itself as a Florida company, but Smartmatic is a private company owned by Venezuelan investors.

Election watchdog groups are alarmed by the fact that a foreign company now has proprietary software that it can claim is a trade secret for counting votes in a U.S. election.

WARREN STEWART, VOTETRUST USA: The broader issue of the fact that the software that counts our votes is considered a trade secret and is proprietary, and no one can review the source code or the ballot programming, not even the election officials, the secretary of state, that's all kept secret from the voters.

PILGRIM: Some e-voting experts and members of Congress dislike the murky corporate structure of Smartmatic, a foreign-owned company, now deeply connected with U.S. elections.

AVI RUBIN, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: The problem that we're in right now is that we're using equipment to elect our president and our Congress and our local officials that cannot be audited, that are potentially under the control of foreign enties, and that are almost an ideal platform for rigging an election.

PILGRIM: Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney recently wrote to Secretary John Snow demanding the U.S. Treasury investigate the sale of the U.S. company Sequoia to Smartmatic in 2005. "Having a foreign government investing in or owning a company that supplies voting machines for U.S. elections could raise concerns over the integrity of elections conducted with these machines."

Smartmatic was also involved in the 2004 recall election of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, an election in which Chavez clung to power but the results have been questioned by some outside observers.


PILGRIM: And because e-voting systems are not entirely tamper- proof, some jurisdictions in the United States have opted to go back to paper ballots until they are more able to be monitored fully. But many election experts say it is right to question the fact that one of the top voting machines company in this country is now foreign owned --- Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you very much, Kitty.

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