New Jersey election threats

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a non-partisan, non-profit collaboration of citizens, activists and researchers to collect reports of voter suppression and the systemic threats to election integrity.

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Voter registration

This section details threats to voters from and problems with the state's voter registration system.

Verification, database and rejection

Notification and appeal

3rd party registration

NVRA implementation

Voter education

This section details past and potential election threats caused by the state's laws, regulations and practices on voter education, how to vote, information on elections, etc.

Absentee and early voting

This section details problems with and threats to the state's absentee and early voting system.

Voter suppression and intimidation

This section details problems and threats involving fraud, intimidation and suppression efforts.

Deceptive practices laws

Voter caging, purging and other eligibility challenges

Voter intimidation and deception

Polling places and voting

This section details past and potential election threats caused by the state's laws, regulations and practices on election practices, polling places, workers, providing election equipment, etc.

Poll worker training, recruitment and distribution

Voter ID requirements

Polling place accessibility and wait times

Voting machine and ballot distribution

Malfunctioning voting machinery

  • November 4, 2008, Burlington County poll workers caused problems with voting machine, forcing voters to use paper ballots for the first hour of voting.[1]
  • In October 2008 the New Jersey heard testimony that New Jersey's Sequoia voting machines are easily hacked[2].
  • For an extensive log of voting machine problems, see the VotersUnite! report on election incidents.[3]

Ballot design

Provisional ballots

This section lists past and potential election threats caused by the state's laws, regulations and practices on provisional ballots. Particularly, what are the state's criteria for receiving a provisional ballot (including voting in the wrong precinct) and its procedures for verifying eligibility and then including those votes in the totals.


Eligibility verification

Ballots cast in wrong precinct

Vote verification and security

This section details past and potential election threats caused by the state's laws, regulations and practices on vote verification and security.

Voting machine verification and security

  • Oct. 6, 2008. A crucial report on the reliability of New Jersey's 10,000 electronic voting machines was kept from the public for more than six weeks. The machines were manufactured by Sequoia Voting System, which objected to the testing, arguing it could put their trade secrets at risk. Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg in Trenton Union County allowed the examination after reports of discrepancies in several counties. Clerk Joanne Rajoppi said that without the independent analysis she is urging voters to "seriously consider" using absentee ballots.[4] The report, titled "Insecurities and Inaccuracies of the Sequoia AVC Advantage 9.00H DRE Voting Machine," was written by six computer scientists including Professor Andrew Appel of the Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP) at Princeton University. It found that the Sequoia AVC voting machines used it New Jersey made it easy to engage in undetectable election fraud:
The AVC Advantage contains a computer. If someone installs a different computer program for that computer to run, it can deliberately add up the votes wrong. It's easy to make a computer program that steals votes from one party's candidates, and gives them to another, while taking care to make the total number of votes come out right. It's easy to make this program take care to cheat only on election day when hundreds of ballots are cast, and not cheat when the machine is being tested for accuracy. This kind of fraudulent computer program can modify every electronic "audit trail" in the computer. Without voter-verified paper ballots, it's extremely hard to know whether a voting machine (such as the AVC Advantage) is running the right program.
It takes about 7 minutes, using simple tools, to replace the computer program in the AVC Advantage with a fraudulent program that cheats. We demonstrate this on the video.
Even when it's not hacked to deliberately steal votes, the AVC Advantage has a few user-interface flaws. Therefore, sometimes the AVC Advantage does not properly record the intent of the voter. All known voting technologies have imperfect user interfaces, although some are worse than others. The public should beware of the argument that some people make, that "we should not replace the AVC Advantage with voting method X, because X is imperfect." The AVC Advantage's susceptibility to installation of a fraudulent vote-counting program is far more than an imperfection: it is a fatal flaw.[5]

The CITP researchers completed their report on September 2, 2008 but were forbidden until October 17 from publishing it by a court order that was eventually reversed on appeal.[6] The local elections board in Princeton also denied a request] by Appel and CITP fellow Grayson Barber to observe poll workers on election night, stating that the election is "too important" to permit extra people in the polling place. "In particular, they cited Andrew's status as an expert on Sequoia voting machines as a 'concern,'" Grayson noted.[7]

Andrew Appel and Grayson Barber, two Princeton-based e-voting researchers, were denied their request to view the vote counting process in New Jersey. The New Jersey Elections Board, which rejected their request, said the election was "too important" to allow outside observers of the count. However, Appel and Barber's request followed procedures spelled out in New Jersey election law that allow the Elections Board to offer "Challenger Badges" to those requesting to observe the election process.[8]

Appel and Ed Felton were the authors of a report commissioned by the state of New Jersey on Sequoia's AVC Advantage e-voting machines after serious problems were discovered with them. The AVC Advantage is a DRE voting machine with no voter verified paper trail.[9] Sequoia then threatened to sue Felton, Appel and several New Jersey officials, causing the officials to reverse course and cancel the report.[10]

In April 2008, however, a judge later approved the review of one of the machines used in New Jersey, the Sequoia AVC Advantage.[11][12][13]

On Oct. 2, 2008, the day the report was to be released, a judge issued a temporary gag order on it and the researchers as part of a separate lawsuit filed against Sequoia, effectively suppressing the report.[14] The report was finally authorized for release and was made public on Oct. 17, 2008. The report found that the AVC Advantage, used in 18 of New Jersey's 21 counties, can be hacked to alter vote counts in as little as seven minutes.[15]

Vote tabulation procedures

Recount procedures

Chain of custody of ballots and e-voting equipment

Election public official issues

Premature media race calling

Vote result challenge procedures

Articles and resources

See also


  1. "Willingboro voting glitch fixed," Courier Post Online, November 4, 2008.
  2. "NJ State Supreme Court hears testimony," NJ Star Ledger, October 18, 2008
  3. This past problem and description are from the VotersUnite! Election Problem Log. Click through for included links to origin of report.
  4. Diane C. Walsh, "Delayed report on N.J. voting machines' reliability raises concerns," Star Ledger, Oct. 6, 2008.
  5. Andrew W. Appel1, Maia Ginsburg, Harri Hursti, Brian W. Kernighan1, Christopher D. Richards and Gang Tan (September 2, 2008). Insecurities and Inaccuracies of the Sequoia AVC Advantage 9.00H DRE Voting Machine. Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University. Retrieved on October 21, 2008.
  6. Andrew Appel (October 2, 2008). Judge Suppresses Report on Voting Machine Security. Freedom to Tinker weblog. Retrieved on October 21, 2008.
  7. Grayson Barber (October 10, 2008). Counting Electronic Votes in Secret. Freedom to Tinker weblog. Retrieved on October 21, 2008.
  8. Mike Masnick, "New Jersey Elections Board Says This Election Is Too Important To Allow Outside Observers," TechDirt, Oct. 10, 2008.
  9. Andrew Appel, "Judge Suppresses Report on Voting Machine Security," Freedom to Tinker, Oct. 2, 2008.
  10. Mike Masnick, "More On Sequoia's Legal Threats Against Ed Felten: The Intimidation Worked," TechDirt, Mar. 19, 2008.
  11. Diane Walsh, "Judge rules for limited testing of electronic voting machines," New Jersey Star Ledger, April 25, 2008.
  12. Mark Masnick, "New Jersey Court Says Independent Investigators Can Review E-Voting Machines," TechDirt, April 28, 2008.
  13. Andrew Appel, "Judge Suppresses Report on Voting Machine Security," Freedom to Tinker, Oct. 2, 2008.
  14. Andrew Appel, "Judge Suppresses Report on Voting Machine Security," Freedom to Tinker, Oct. 2, 2008.
  15. "Judge releases report on NJ voting machines,", Oct. 17, 2008.

External resources

Poll location

Election Protection hotlines

Voting information

Voting rights

Voting requirements

Election officials, election reform groups, and elected officials

Absentee voting

Disabled voters

Student voting rights

State ballot

  • See how organizations you trust recommend you vote on ballot measures and other statewide contests at TransparentDemocracy.


  • Help in other languages from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. 中文, 日本語, 한국어, Tagalog, Tiếng Việt, Español

Voting machines

External articles