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Study Done for Constitutional Litigation Clinic Shows NJ E-Voting Machines Very Vulnerable to Tampering

October 17, 2008 – 
A report released today in a four-year lawsuit spearheaded by the Constitutional Litigation Clinic at Rutgers School of Law–Newark shows that approximately 10,000 voting machines used in 18 out of the 21 counties in New Jersey can be manipulated to throw an election. The Constitutional Litigation Clinic represents voting rights advocacy groups such as the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action, as well as a state legislator and a voter who was disenfranchised. 

The report was written by Princeton University Professor Andrew Appel, an expert on computer security. The report details many ways in which the State’s 10,000 Sequoia AVC Advantage electronic voting machines are insecure. After spending two months examining the voting computers, Professor Appel concluded that vote-stealing software can be easily installed in the AVC Advantage in less than eight minutes. The technical knowledge needed to write vote-stealing software is widespread and common.

The AVC Advantages also falsely indicate that votes are recorded when they are not. The machines can be programmed to print fraudulent reports that differ from the official results. Professor Appel’s report can be found at http://citp.princeton.edu/voting/advantage/.

“The possibility for disenfranchisement due to voting machine insecurities puts at risk the more than five million registered New Jersey voters,” says Rutgers Professor Penny Venetis who has been pushing for examination of the voting computers for four years.  “It is most unfortunate that the State continues to defend these insecure voting systems.” The lawsuit asks that the court de-commission the electronic voting machines and order the State to replace them with more reliable and secure voting systems.

For more information, contact Professor Penny Venetis at 973-353-5687 (office) or 917-617-3524 (cell); Irene Goldman, Chair, Coalition for Peace Action, Princeton, NJ, 609-505-7554 (cell); or Professor Andrew Appel, Princeton University, 609-489-3045 (cell).