Squelching rumors of Chavez ties

Janet Babin Oct 30, 2006


SCOTT JAGOW: An American company that makes voting machines is asking the federal government to investigate it. Sequoia Voting Systems wants to dispel rumors that it has ties to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. From North Carolina Public Radio, Janet Babin reports.

JANET BABIN: Sequoia was one of the leading voting machine manufacturers in the U.S. before it was purchased by Smartmatic last year.

Smartmatic is owned by three Venezuelans, and there are allegations that shares in the company were previously held by the Venezuelan government. Some claim that during Venezuela’s last election, Smartmatic failed to cross check paper ballots with electronic ones.

In the U.S., more than a dozen states will use Sequoia machines in this month’s midterm elections.

Johns Hopkins professor Avi Rubin understands U.S. concern over the machines, but says there’s a simple solution:

AVI RUBIN:“Rather than investigating whether there are ties to Chavez, use voting systems that don’t require you to trust the manufacturer.”

Rubin favors e-voting machines that use a paper ballot with an optical scan.

An attorney representing Sequoia says that the company is not connected to the Venezuelan government.

I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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