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Experts differ on N.J. voting machines

Oct. 18, 2008 at 1:11 AM

TRENTON, N.J., Oct. 18 (UPI) -- New Jersey's electronic voting machines could be easily hacked with simple tools, a report released Friday said.

Andrew Appel of Princeton University called the Sequoia Advantage machines "too insecure to use in New Jersey" and recommended replacing them with optical scanners reading paper ballots, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported. But Michael Shamos, a computer expert from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, disputed Appel's findings in his own report.

The two reports were prepared as part of a suit brought by the Coalition for Peace Action, a Princeton group that has challenged the machines used at most New Jersey polling places. Irene Goldman, who heads the organization, said that at least optical scanners provide a paper trail that can be used to check the results.

Robert Giles, the new head of the state Division of Elections, said that New Jersey has used the Sequoia machines since 1996 without problems.

"There's never been an election overturned because of this machine," Giles said.

A judge ordered the two reports released Friday.

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