FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2009
The Gouverneur Times made "numerous false assertions and allegations," a state Board of Elections official said, when their writer suggested that a "virus" in the computerized voting systems had "tainted" results from the 23rd Congressional District race.
John Conklin, the board's director of public information said:
There was no virus in the voting machines on Election Day in the 23rd District or anywhere else. The article is full of inaccurate information and unfortunately quoted a single word from a commissioner who mischaracterized the issue in question.
Mr. Conklin said the state board learned of a software problem that caused some voting machines to freeze during pre-election testing, but said the voting systems were corrected.
However, the human review of the software problem did not adequately identify every machine that had the problem and, as a result, there were some scanners which did freeze on Election Day. When these scanners froze, the local boards implemented procedures according to state law and Board of Elections regulations. These procedures do not allow for new changes on Election Day, so inoperative scanners were taken out of operation and emergency ballots were cast and counted in those areas according to existing procedures.
Mr. Conklin also dismissed the article's contention that the voting machines could be hacked via their USB port. The port, he said, "is sealed, is not accessible and has no capability for any exchange of information. The scanners do not operate like personal computers. Any device, such as a flash drive, placed in the port will not be recognized."
The spokesman said the machines were in the care, custody and control of the local board of elections, under lock and key and covered in tamper-evident seals.
Mr. Conklin also said the online publication's reference to a slot that is accessible to voters and poll workers "is inaccurate."
Every machine in use on Election Day was retrofitted to completely block access to that gap. Prior to completion of the retrofit last year the gap was blocked by a tamper-evident numbered security seal.
Mr. Conklin concluded:
Despite the numerous misstatements of fact in the above mentioned article, the results in the 23rd Congressional District, and all other contests in counties which utilized optical scan voting machines, will have been canvassed and audited pursuant to state Election Law, and will be certified in due course. In the end, the new optical scan voting systems guarantee we have ballots as marked by voters ensuring that every vote is counted.
So, does anyone remain convinced by the Gouverneur Times' claims?