Fewer than 50 people stepped up to a single Sequoia touch-screen voting machine on Primary Election day. Admittedly, that’s a low voter turnout total but apparently enough to cause controversy. Due to the alleged unreliability of that brand of touch-screen voting machines, two candidates want the results voided and a recount or new election held.
Current Deputy Mayor Ernest Zirkle received nine votes and resident Cynthia Zirkle got 10. What’s more, 28 Fairfield residents who voted in the early June primary election have signed affidavits that state they voted for the Zirkles. So, sore losers or the fallibility of a much-discussed modern machine? It would seem to be the latter.
“How else would you explain it?” said Attorney Samuel Serata, who is representing the Zirkles. He has recommended his clients make no statements to the media at this point.
“The Sequoia AVC Advantage Direct-Recording Electronic Voting Machine utilized at this poling place was obviously not operating properly,” according to a petition filed by Serata around noon Monday with state Superior Court.
Opponents in the election for executive committee seats, Vivian and Mark Henry, received 34 and 33 votes, respectively. That should raise some eyebrows when contrasted to the 28 voters who have sworn they cast ballots for the Zirkles. The Sequoia machine has “known defects in firmware, program bugs, hardware faults and are insecure,” according to the petition.
That’s what Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action (CPA) Chair Irene Goldman has been trying to say all along. Her group filed a lawsuit in Oct. 2004 that alleged touch-screen voting machines are unconstitutional because voters cannot be assured their vote is counted as cast or recorded.
In Feb. 2010, Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg ruled the state’s 11,000 voting machines were to be examined and evaluated, according to a Star-Ledger report at the time.
The newspaper noted Feinberg did not “go one step further and enforce a 2005 state statute requiring that all voting machines in New Jersey produce a voter-verified paper ballot.”