Sequoia Voting Systems site hacked

Under fire for New Jersey vote discrepancies and legal threats against electronic voting systems researchers, the Sequoia Voting Systems blot site went dark Thursday.

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Part of the Sequoia Voting Systems Web site was defaced and subsequently taken down on Thursday, according to a report in InfoWorld. As CNET prepared this blog, the entire Sequoia Voting System site was frequently inaccessible.

The defacement and subsequent takedown occurred Thursday morning on the company's Ballot Blog page. Sequoia is one of a handful of electronic voting companies used in the United States. It has in recent days come under fire for apparent discrepancies in voter tallies in last month's New Jersey primary election.

The Ballot Blog page on SequoiaVote.com had contained information from Sequoia regarding the Super Tuesday New Jersey election, but as of Thursday afternoon the blog site was available only on and off.

Last week an independent group representing New Jersey county clerks asked Princeton University computer science professor Ed Felten to investigate the discrepancies in the New Jersey vote tallies. Felten and his team have examined Sequoia and other voting systems in the past. Most recently, Felten's team of graduate students helped the California Secretary of State Debra Bowen conduct a survey of her state's electronic voting systems. One of those graduate students, J. Alex Halderman, recently gave a talk at Shmoocon 4 suggesting that with improvements, electronic voting systems could work well in a future election.

Last Friday, Sequoia systems contacted Felten and threatened legal action if he or his students conducted an investigation of a working New Jersey voting machine. On Monday, Felten posted the e-mail on his blog. It reads:

Dear Professors Felten and Appel:

As you have likely read in the news media, certain New Jersey election officials have stated that they plan to send to you one or more Sequoia Advantage voting machines for analysis. I want to make you aware that if the County does so, it violates their established Sequoia licensing Agreement for use of the voting system. Sequoia has also retained counsel to stop any infringement of our intellectual properties, including any non-compliant analysis. We will also take appropriate steps to protect against any publication of Sequoia software, its behavior, reports regarding same or any other infringement of our intellectual property.

Very truly yours,
Edwin Smith
VP, Compliance/Quality/Certification
Sequoia Voting Systems

On the resurrected Ballot Blog site on Thursday, Sequoia Voting Systems announced that it had initiated its own external review of the New Jersey voting systems. The external review, the company said, would be conducted by independent parties including Kwaidan Consulting of Houston, Texas; an Election Assistance Commission (EAC)-accredited Voting System Test Lab (VSTL)--Wyle Laboratories of Huntsville, Ala., and possibly another VSTL; and an academic institution.