Last week, Bob Fitrakis and Gerry Bello at FreePress.org reported an important story concerning what they described as “uncertified ‘experimental’ software patches” being installed at the last minute on electronic vote tabulation systems in 39 Ohio counties. The story included a copy of thecontract [PDF] between Republican Ohio Sec. of State Jon Husted’s office and ES&S, the nation’s largest e-voting system manufacturer, for a new, last minute piece of software created to the custom specifications of the Sec. of State. The contract itself describes the software as “High-level enhancements to ES&S’ election reporting software that extend beyond the current features and functionality of the software to facilitate a custom-developed State Election Results Reporting File.”
… By describing it as “experimental” software, it seems the state is attempting to skirt the legal requirements for state testing and certification by the Ohio Board of Voting Machine Examiners. But more on that in a moment.
According to Pam Smith, President of the non-partisan watchdog groupVerifiedVoting.org, her organization also sought explanations for the last minute software changes from the Sec. of State’s office.
She tells me that she was told that “the Secretary of State team installed the EXP tool” themselves in the counties that use the ES&S system. “It was not left to the counties to figure out the installation or the configuration.”
Moreover, she stressed, she was told the software “does not get installed on voting machines.”