Emergency Action! Petition – Tell CA Secretary of State Padilla not to certify LA’s voting machines yet.

Remember LA County’s last election?

(It looked like this.) Sign this petition to demand that CA Secretary of State Alex Padilla safeguard this election by requiring LA County to fix several serious problems with their voting system and by requiring that the source code be publicly released as mandated by California election law.

Why is this so important? Los Angeles has the largest number of voters in the nation, higher than the individual population of more than 30 states. Their system is the nation’s first publicly-owned voting system with ballot marking devices (BMDs), and it may be spread across the country, flaws and all.

What are the flaws that need to be fixed?

For LA County voters using “ballot marking devices: Let’s start by using Ventura County as a good example. Here, voters using ballot marking devices (BMD) make their selections on a touch screen, and their ballot is then printed out on regular paper. Voters can check their choices for accuracy, and place their paper ballots into ballot boxes, which are collected and taken to the county elections division. (photo of BDM system used in Ventura Co.)

Problem #1: In LA’s version, the voter must first insert their ballot into the ballot marking device properly, and then REINSERT THEIR PRINTOUT BACK INTO THE MACHINE AGAIN. Not only is this guaranteed to cause paper jams and ruined ballots (remember those long lines of voters?), but, as the completed ballot has to pass under the printhead again, it gives hackers an opportunity to alter it.

Problem #2: Votes are counted using QR codes, which voters can’t easily verify as representing their choices— a system which Colorado’s Secretary of State banned because they are “potentially subject to manipulation”.

For LA voters who want to use paper ballots: Unlike systems in other counties, LA doesn’t give voters the option to use normal hand-marked paper ballots. Instead, L.A’s optional write-in ballot IS LITERALLY A BLANK PIECE OF PAPER WITH LINES! Seriously! Voters have to handwrite everything — the name of office being voted for, the name of the candidates, etc. — which slows down voters and induces errors (including spelling and readability) that may disenfranchise them.

These security issues are not new discoveries…

But now we are running out of time. Six months ago a coalition of 36 state, local, and national organizations plus election experts requested that Secretary Padilla require these serious security flaws to be fixed before granting final certification — but so far he hasn’t taken action.  (Click here to see the coalition letter.)

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