Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Technical difficulties

The New York State Board of Elections has fallen even further behind in its already-belated attempts to comply with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).

This excerpt from the Board’s June 25th status report to the judge overseeing the court-ordered testing and implementation of new voting machines says it all:

“In the July 24th weekly status meeting SysTest announced that the vendors were not ready for testing at this point in time due to various issues, among them: documentation issues, testing machines supplied which did not function, lacked harddrives and or USB ports and therefore could not be tested. As of July 24, 2008 the timeline allowed only 16 days for the run [of] the record test by SysTest and when the Sequoia software was loaded up for a test pass, it crashed.”

Due to these challenges, SysTest, the independent contractor hired to test the machines, has reevaluated its testing timeline and now projects that it will not meet the October 1st, 2008 deadline for testing completion.

Who’s to blame here? We’re sure there is blame to go around, but missing hard drives and USB ports seem like pretty big oversights on the part of the manufacturers of the machines, ES&S and Sequoia. Here’s to hoping that the remainder of the testing process doesn’t get rushed along – We’ll have enough to worry about on election day without a bunch of voting machines that can’t be turned on.

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