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Smartmatic: Voting machines do not have data exchange capabilities

By Teresa De Vincenzo, El Universal

05.10.04 - Antonio Mugica, president of IT firm Smartmatic, the company in charge of the computerized voting machines that were used in Venezuela during the August 15 presidential recall referendum, ratified that the SAES-3000 balloting devices are not bi-directional, and added that there is no possibility that the voting machines may exchange information with other devices.

Question: Are the voting machines bi-directional or not?

Answer: No, the machines are not set up or enabled to receive electoral data.

Q: Then, why telephone company published a report on bi-directionality?

A: Cantv recently referred to bi-directionality exclusively in the communications and security layers. Many times before and after August 15 I was asked if the data in the machines could be changed remotely, by logging on the machines. And many times I answered that it was not possible, as the machines have no mechanism allowing them to receive electoral data.

Q: There are claims that the balloting machines received data.

A: The communications and security mechanisms -which are advanced algorithms (exchange of control signals and encryption keys for data transmission between the machines and the server), involve data transmission in both directions at the communications layer and the security layer, but never at the electoral data layer. That is to say, the machines never receive electoral data.

Q: What would you say to the people that are not convinced of this?

A: The only reliable mechanism is an audit to the electoral results: you have to count the paper receipts and compare these to the electronic results. Obviously, the 10 million people who participated in the recall referendum cannot observe the audit, and therefore delegates should be appointed to witness the audit, and then the people should trust the delegates.

Translated by Maryflor Suárez

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