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Re Jack Blaine's defense of Sequoia

By Aleksander Boyd

London 30.04.06 | It is with great interest that I read the statements of Jack Blaine in the article "Voting-machine maker on defense." Mr Blaine states "The only major disappointment was the slow tabulation of the results." Indeed, Sequoia's parent company, Smartmatic, was in charge of running the last legislative election in Venezuela, held December 4 2005, which was monitored by international observers.

According to the report of the electoral observation mission deployed by the Organization of American States (OAS), released this week, the OAS is yet to receive final results of said electoral process. Equally the results of an audit, that was to be made to 45% of the e-voting machines utilized during election day, has not been submitted to OAS authorities. The report, however, does mention one audit conducted in Caracas on November 23 2005, whereby it was demonstrated that the machines keep the sequence of votes in a file, which compromises the secrecy of the voting process.

Should one take the performance of Sequoia's parent company machines as a test of reliability and trustworthiness, then the only conclusion one can arrive at is that democracy is best served without these devices.

Smartmaticís strings of fiascoes in Venezuela, starting with the recall referendum of August 2004, are testament to what can be expected in other parts of the world from its subsidiaries.

And regarding Blaine's understanding of the relationship between Smartmatic and Bizta, expressed in this other article ("Bizta repaid the loan before the referendum"), it would be interesting to see whether Mr. Blaine can produce any evidence to support such statement. It is futile to deny the fact that Smartmatic does have a credibility issue; its connections to the Chavez regime are known; its ownership is suspect and, to date, none of the results of electoral processes in which their equipment has been used has met international standards of fairness and transparency.

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