The CA Secretary of State Alex Padilla will be deciding whether to certify the Los Angeles "Voting Solutions for All People" (VSAP) system. It received a conditional certification previously so that it could be used in the March 2020 primary.
That primary was an "Epic Fail" with 4 hour lines, jammed printers, epollbooks that malfunctioned and many many voters unable to vote.
There is a public comment period now until September 15th 2020 at 5pm PST. Email your comments to:
The machines have now been tested by a different lab called SLI Compliance. Testing labs are called "independent" but they are paid by vendors and counties, so it is in their interest to tell those clients what they want to hear, rather than to report on the details of security problems. Even so, at the 8/31/20 public hearing the SLI representative admitted they found problems with "error checking" "functional security issues" and "encryption".
The new tests on the voting system are publicly available.
At the 3 hour hearing there was not a single speaker who spoke entirely favorably of the voting system. A few people said that it was well-intentioned, and had helped some voters with disabilities vote. But speaker after speaker detailed the security and functionality flaws, saying they were "angry" that this poorly designed system was being pushed on voters and "scared" about what would happen if it continues to be used.
Here is a Twitter thread about the hearing. Please read and retweet. We are using the hashtags #VSAP #LAVotes & #SecurityFail
SMART Elections Executive Director Lulu Friesdat also spoke with Brad Friedman on his radio show The BradCast about the problems with the LA voting system. The show is very informative. Long time advocate Robin Gibson was also a guest.
SMART Elections signed onto, and helped to finalize a letter organized by the California Clean Money Campaign asking for 4 improvements prior to certification of the VSAP voting system.
If your organization is doing pro-democracy work and wants to sign the coalition letter asking for improvements to the system, please email us at contact@SMARTelections.us with "Want to Sign the Coalition Letter" in the subject line. Please include your group name, leader name and logo.
Here is the letter:
SMART Elections, a non-partisan project dedicated to “Elevating Election Reform to an Urgent National Priority,” is submitting the following public comments to the California Secretary of State.
Dear Secretary of State Alex Padilla,
We do not understand how the SOS office can state that the Los Angeles County Voting Solutions for All People System has met "all applicable California and federal laws" when the system violates so many of California's security and secrecy requirements.
Below are screenshots of some of the concerns that were listed in LA County's own Functional Test Report.
According to the diagrams available on the VSAP website, the ballot passes by the printhead after the voter casts their ballot. Security experts say that this is extremely risky because if the machine comes under the control of malware, then the voting machine can be instructed to print on the ballot and potentially change how the voter has voted.
Despite these clear violations to security and secrecy requirements, the Secretary of State of California is reporting that, "The VSAP Tally 2.0 voting system ... meets all applicable California and federal laws."
We do not see how given the reports above, the statement below that the system is "safe from fraud or manipulation" can be accurate.
This is extremely troubling. We cannot recommend that you use a system with so many security risks.
Election security experts are in agreement that hand-marked paper ballots are currently the best way to ensure a secure, accurate and transparent election and have confidence that every vote is counted as cast. For voters who cannot mark a ballot by hand, they recommend secure non-tabulating ballot-marking devices with a separate path for printing the ballot.
The current VSAP system offers neither of these options. It does not give voters a chance to mark a ballot by hand, and it is not a secure ballot-marking device with a separate printer path.
We do not recommend using the VSAP in the upcoming primary. There are too many issues to resolve. We believe the best option currently available to LA is to use a vote-by-mail system and encourage voters to drop those hand-marked ballots off in person at a vote center; and continue to use their previous ballot-marking devices for voters with disabilities.
The VSAP must not be certified and put in use until it either meets all security requirements, or is determined to be unable to meet them, in which case other options must be considered.
Letters to Secretary of State Alex Padilla from Outreach Director Holly Mosher & Legislative Director Jim Soper
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