Ion Sancho is a man on a mission. Just weeks from the presidential election, one of the most veteran election supervisors in the state of Florida, thinks there’s plenty for him and his colleagues to lose sleep over. What keeps him awake at night? Whether you can trust the machine you will be voting on. “We still have not secured the process to ensure that that machine has read that ballot correctly and it is 100 percent accurate. Because it is wrong to assume that the machines are always right. They’re not, ” Sancho tells CBS4 Chief Investigator Michele Gillen. “I think the citizens should be screaming from the rooftops,” he punctuates with the candor and directness he is known for. For many voters Sancho’s words hold weight. He was the first elections supervisor in America to dare a “look under the hood” of a voting machine, to see if the machines were recording votes properly and if they could be hacked. ” I sanctioned the first investigation of a voting system without the vendor’s authorization,” Sancho recalls.
The year was 2005. Sancho’s county was already using an optical scan machine that reads paper ballots, the technology thought by many to be the most secure. He authorized two world renowned computer scientists to attempt to penetrate his system. “I told them I want you to crack my system I want you to steal an election if you can do it,.” he explained to Gillen . The attempts to “hack” were recorded and featured in the HBO documentary “Hacking Democracy.” What he and the team learned, Sancho says, is that if someone had access to a memory card they could potentially manipulate votes and alter the outcome of an election. “And this was shocking to us,” recounts Sancho.
The manufacturer disputed the results and so did the state of Florida which he says wanted to fire him. Meanwhile, as the public’s demand for a paper trail and paper ballots grew, every Florida county ultimately ended up with optical scan machines made by a handful of companies. Sancho says worrisome computer vote tabulation problems appear to be emerging for various manufacturers.
Full Article: CBS4 Investigates: Does Your Vote Count? « CBS Miami.