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A Pox on Board of Elections and Sequoia

Both the Board of Elections and Ethics and Sequoia Voting Systems, the company that supplies the District's voting equipment, share responsibility for the confusion during the Sept. 9 primary when phantom write-in votes wrecked havoc with the city's election results, according to a D.C. Council report.

Council member Mary M. Cheh and the special committee set up to investigate the chaos released its report today.

The committee held a day-long hearing on Friday in which it grilled Sequoia and the board and also heard testimony from local activists and national voting systems experts.

The report from the committee, ordered up by Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray after the primary chaos, worked fast to produce a list of recommendations that members say are meant to help guarantee an accurate vote-counting process for the District.

Among those recommendations is a call for more checks and balances during vote tabulations and better training for poll workers to encourage voters to use optical scan machines instead of electronic touch-screen ones.

"Confidence in our voting system is essential to our legitimacy as a government," said Cheh (D-Ward 3) in a news release about the report. "Phantom votes and corrupted election data have eroded public faith in our ability to accurately record and count every vote. The Committee calls upon the Board of Elections and Ethics to implement the recommendations in this report, so that we can have a successful general election in November and begin to rebuild public confidence."

Council members Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) and Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5) are the other committee members.

Click here to read the report.

By Marcia Davis  |  October 8, 2008; 4:48 PM ET
Categories:  2008 District Election , D.C. Council  
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