Monday, September 25, 2006

Sequoia Misleads New York

The continuing saga of voting machine usability ...

"On Wednesday, Sequoia voting systems issued a press release claiming that their AVC edge received a "top usability rating of any voting machine" in our usability study. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Sequoia makes at least three misstatement of facts:

1) "Sequoia Voting Systems' AVC Edge receives best rating in new Brennan Center report on usability."

2) "Sequoia Voting Systems' AVC Edge, a touch screen Direct Record Electronic (DRE) voting system, received the top usability rating of any voting machine in the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law's recent report."

3) "Sequoia's AVC Edge, which was used statewide in Nevada for the 2004 presidential election, produced a residual vote rate of 0.3% - significantly lower than all other comparable systems."

All of these statemenst are untrue. First, and most simply, the Report does not rate any voting systems. The first two statements are therefore patently false.

Second, as explained on page 16 of our usability report, because no states other than Nevada include a "none of the above option", which reduces the residual (or lost) vote rate, and because no states other than Nevada used the DRE system with VVPT, the Report states that the data for the DRE system with VVPT "are too limited to draw any conclusions regarding residual vote rates," and that the .3% residual voter rate "is not directly comparable to that produced by other jurisdictions with different ballot options." Therefore, Sequoia's statements that suggest a comparison of the Sequoia Voting System with other voting machines are false and misleading.

Finally, Sequoia uses these misstatements to suggest that New Yorkers should purchase their full face DREs. But one thing is quite clear from our study: full face DREs have significantly higher residual vote (or lost vote) rates than other electronic voting systems. So the Brennan Center study most certainly does not make this suggestion."    (Continued via Amherst Times)    [Usability Resources]


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