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New York state is in the process of replacing its lever voting machines with new voting equipment, but the state revealed recently that it has found problems with 50 percent of the roughly 1,500 ImageCast optical-scan machines (shown in the video above) that Sequoia Voting Systems has delivered to the state so far -- machines that are slated to be used by dozens of counties in the state's September 9 primary and November 4 presidential election.
In Nassau County alone, the largest voting district outside of New York City, officials found problems with 85 percent of the 240 ImageCast machines it received so far -- problems that the county characterized in a letter as "substantial operational flaws that render them unusable or that require major repairs."
New York doesn't have a choice about using the machines this year. The state was sued by the Department of Justice for failing to meet a federal deadline for having accessible voting machines in place. The Help America Vote Act passed in 2002 requires every voting precinct to provide at least one accessible voting machine for disabled voters by 2006. New York is just now getting the machines in place.
After the testing is completed, a tamper-evident seal is placed on the machines and they're passed back to the vendor representative who is responsible for shipping off the machines to counties.
This creates chain-of-custody concerns that Biamonte says are exacerbated by the fact that when he received his machines in Nassau County, a number of the tamper-evident seals on them were cracked.
"How do we know this wasn't tampered with?" he said.