New Jersey Voting Bugs

Steve Bellovin reports:

Ed Felten has posted two articles describing bugs in New Jersey’s electronic voting systems. Briefly, the total votes for all of the candidates add up to more than the number of votes the machines believe were cast.

The voting machine company, Sequoia, has proffered an explanation of the bug, but Ed Felten points out in his second article that one of the tapes now analysed shows this to be inadequate as the total number of votes is more than the “public counter” which is the voting machines own total of the count. He writes:

Each machine has a “public counter” that keeps track of how many votes were cast on the machine in the current election. The public counter, which is found on virtually all voting machines, is one of the important safeguards ensuring that votes are not cast improperly. […]

The public counter is important enough that the poll workers actually sign a statement at the bottom of the tape, attesting to the value of the public counter.


The public counter says 105, even though 106 votes were reported. That’s a big problem.