Press Releases

Chairman Feinstein Announces Plans for Rules Committee Hearing to Examine Security of Electronic Voting Machines

- CA Secretary of State Bowen releases report demonstrating vulnerabilities in security -

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chairman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, today announced that she intends to hold a hearing in September to examine the findings of a new report exposing weaknesses in the security of electronic voting machines.

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen commissioned the University of California to test the security and reliability of electronic voting systems currently in use by the state.  According to their report, issued Friday, July 27 2007, University of California computer scientists were successful in their attack of certain voting systems manufactured by Diebold Election Systems, Hart InterCivic, and Sequoia Voting Systems.

The scientists who tested the voting equipment were able to evade the physical security on the machines, as well as compromise the software security measures in place to thwart such an attack. 

“I was very surprised to read how easily these machines could be hacked into and election results distorted,” Senator Feinstein said.  “This report demonstrates the precarious risk of relying on electronic voting machines, especially when a verified paper record is not provided.  These findings are yet another reason that states and counties should consider a move to optical scan machines that provide an auditable, individual voter-verified paper record without having to rely on a separate printer.”

Senator Feinstein introduced the Ballot Integrity Act in May 2007 to help ensure the accuracy of vote counts in federal elections and institute important new reforms in the administration of elections.

The legislation is co-sponsored by 11 additional Senators, including Senators Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.),  Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and Joseph Biden (D-Del.).

The Ballot Integrity Act of 2007 provides new safeguards to prevent errors and tampering at the polls, requires states to use voting systems with voter-verified paper records subject to public manual audits in the 2010 federal elections, improves the physical security procedures of voting systems, provides improved poll worker training, and takes steps to help increase access to voter registration and ballots by decreasing wrongful purges of voting rolls.