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County's $30 Million Investment in Voting Machines Sits Idle

Riverside County spent millions of dollars to purchase and maintain more than 3,500 electronic voting machines more than ten years ago, but they were decertified in 2007.

The roughly 3,700 electronic voting machines owned by Riverside County are locked in a warehouse, being scavenged for parts, with no plans to sell the multimillion-dollar equipment that was rendered idle by the stroke of a pen more than five years ago, a county official confirmed.

In August 2007, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen decertified e- voting units in use in counties throughout the state following a series of security tests that revealed vulnerabilities in the machines that could leave them open to computer hack attacks.

At the time, Riverside County's Sequoia AVC Edge voting machines had been used in elections going back to 2000. County supervisors universally lauded e-voting, calling the practice a great time-saver with less risk for the type of errors that came to light in Florida following the 2000 presidential election.

Members of election integrity group Save-R-Vote of Temecula Valley, a staunch opponent of e-voting, forecasted Bowen's decision, with the head of the organization, Tom Courbat, recommending that the county sell its Sequoia units for pennies on the dollar to cut its losses.

He was ignored.

The units, which cost an estimated $30 million to purchase and maintain between 2000 and 2008, are now stored in a "secure" warehouse in the Riverside area, according to county Executive Office spokesman Ray Smith.

"Currently, the extra inventory is used for replacement parts," Smith said. "The law still requires one accessible unit for each polling place; using parts from extra inventory saves taxpayer dollars."

At least one machine is set up at each polling station during an election for the benefit of disabled voters as required under the federal Help America Vote Act.

Smith said that since the state's de-certification of the machines, there is "not a market" in which to sell them.

According to Smith, the county's position today remains the same as it was five years ago: "The county has said all along that our electronic voting system is safe, secure and helps speed the return of results."

a litttle justice June 04, 2012 at 04:03 AM
Mr. Rose. You have alot of nerve asking Ellen or anyone else how they voted. Under no circumstance is it any of you business!
Diego Rose June 04, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Your right. .. "Little Justice", I do have nerve!! Thank you for noticing. Ellen and anyone else, can freely answer the question as asked if they feel they would like to. Ellen has already indicated in her response, how she "will" vote, I am only asking how she "has" voted. She will only be indicating whether or not she remains consistent according to what she has given as her stance already. I only extend to others the same respect that I would like given in return. I would have no problem answering, Who or What I voted on. Why you think it is some major problem is what I find amusing to say the least. Where does your major hang up lie? How did you vote? Though you may think it inappropriate, She said, "I know I'm voting NO on any kind of new taxes." . . . . .. . .How dare her indicate to the whole Patch world, how she will vote!!! The nerve of some people to throw their opinions all over the internet!!!! Blasphemy!!!
a litttle justice June 04, 2012 at 09:44 PM
I didn't say Ellen can't tell you how she voted, or will vote if she so chooses. What I said is you don't have the right to ask! Why do you think they have voting booths? It's called privacy!!!
Diego Rose June 05, 2012 at 01:33 AM
What you really don't seem to understand is the word "Freedom:" I am more than free to ask, and Ellen is more than free to answer. Your just an extremist. We all have the right to ask........ That is where it ends. Grow up, "little justice" and become "a big Justice." Big Justice is what happens when you are not afraid to ask why? And by the way, we have voting booths primarily so that one person's voting habits don't influence another persons at the time they are about to vote. We also have paper ballots........ Privacy in today's society is the least of what you have. Come on. If you are really concerned about peoples privacy you should be fighting against all of the computerized voting machines. Your outburst is misdirected to say the least. If someone is truly concerned about privacy they are not typically giving political commentary over the internet. RIIGHT??!!??
a litttle justice June 05, 2012 at 09:19 AM
A voting booth or polling booth is a room or cabin in a polling station where voters are able to cast their vote in private to protect the secrecy of the ballot. (wikipedia) - I have noticed that Ellen comments on many subjects on Patch, The Banning Informer and on facebook. Unless she has privately communicated her vote to you, it appears that she doesn't feel it is appropriate for you to ask either. I will agree that you have the FREEDOM to ask, I just don't believe it is appropriate. I would be very interested to hear from others on the subject, including Ellen, as to how she feels about it...

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