Inside Ocean County Government

Election 2017, Ocean County

Ocean County to Buy More Sequoia Voting Machines

TOMS RIVER – The Ocean County Freeholders have approved a contract with Dominion Voting Systems, the manufacturer of the current Sequoia AVC series voting machines in use around the county earlier this month. The Sequoia machines came under scrutiny during the 2016 campaign after security researchers unearthed vulnerabilities in the machines.

It looks like Ocean County will be sticking with the Sequoia AVC Advantage series of voting machines already in use around the county, following the approval of a new contract with Dominion Voting Systems, the manufacturer of the machines. The contract was approved at the January 18th, 2017 meeting of the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders and will be in effect until December 31, 2018 and is backdated to be effective as of January 1st, 2017.

From the contract

The contract did not cap the expenditures on voting machines and related services. Rather, the contract stipulates that services purchased under it will be done by way of purchase orders, which will be subject to the approval of the Ocean County Department of Finance before any machines will be purchased.

Voting Machine Platform Has Noted Security Vulnerabilities

While Ocean County’s officials have maintained the position that the county’s voting systems are secure, with county elections officials having issued a press release to that effect before the November 8th, 2016 general election, computer security experts and media watchdogs have continued to raise questions about security issues prevalent in the Sequoia AVC series of voting machines.

The machine

It should be noted that at this time, there is no independently verifiable evidence that suggests any of these theoretical vulnerabilities disclosed by security researchers have led to real-world election tampering in Ocean County, but the voting machine platform still in use by the board of elections has continued to be scrutinized by security researchers.

Earlier in 2016, at the height of the presidential campaign, POLITICO published the story of research led by a Princeton University computer science professor that focused on security issues with the AVC Advantage voting machines, which are in use not only in Ocean County, but also in other counties around the state.

In an article entitled “How to Hack an Election in 7 Minutes” that publication called the Sequoia AVC Advantage “…one of the oldest and vulnerable, electronic voting machines in the United States.”

“The Princeton group has a simple message: That the machines that Americans use at the polls are less secure than the iPhones they use to navigate their way there,” wrote Ben Wofford, the article’s author.

But amid those concerns, state election officials have repeatedly denied any evidence of voting machines malfunctioning.

“To this date, there’s been no evidence of the machines malfunctioning to the extent that there’s been an election questioned,” Robert Giles, director of the New Jersey Division of Elections told News 12 New Jersey’s Walt Kane of “Kane in Your Corner” prior to the 2016 election.

See the contract:

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