Calif voting vendor integrity bill like tough North Carolina law

If California’s SB 1404 passes, voting vendors will risk heavy fines if they hide or lie about flaws, failures or defects in their voting systems. Various voting vendors have been caught hiding serious flaws in many different states, with voters being the victim. North Carolina set similar but perhaps tougher standards in 2005 in our Public Confidence in Elections Law, SL 323. We need lemon laws for voting machines.

Calif. bill increases scrutiny of voting systems (SB1404)
(05-17) 16:30 PDT Sacramento, Calif. (AP) —

Companies that make the voting systems used throughout California would face fines if they fail to report problems quickly under a bill that has passed the state Senate.

The measure, SB1404, would require vendors to notify the secretary of state and local election officials of any product defects within 30 business days of discovering the flaws.

A vendor that fails to report known problems could face fines of up to $50,000 per violation. Opponents say the penalty is too stiff and will hurt the industry.

The bill’s supporters say it will help ensure the integrity of California’s election system.

The Senate voted 21-12 on Monday in favor of the measure, which now moves to the Assembly.

Here’s the section of North Carolina’s Public Confidence in Elections Act, passed in August 2005 setting strict standards and penalties for voting vendors.


This is the section that made Diebold run:


SECTION 2.(a) Part 2 of Article 14A of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

§ 163‑165.9A. Voting systems: requirements for voting systems vendors; penalties.

(a) Duties of Vendor. – Every vendor that has a contract to provide a voting system in North Carolina shall do all of the following:

(1) The vendor shall place in escrow with an independent escrow agent approved by the State Board of Elections all software that is relevant to functionality, setup, configuration, and operation of the voting system, including, but not limited to, a complete copy of the source and executable code, build scripts, object libraries, application program interfaces, and complete documentation of all aspects of the system including, but not limited to, compiling instructions, design documentation, technical documentation, user documentation, hardware and software specifications, drawings, records, and data. The State Board of Elections may require in its request for proposal that additional items be escrowed, and if any vendor that agrees in a contract to escrow additional items, those items shall be subject to the provisions of this section. The documentation shall include a list of programmers responsible for creating the software and a sworn affidavit that the source code includes all relevant program statements in low‑level and high‑level languages.

(2) The vendor shall notify the State Board of Elections of any change in any item required to be escrowed by subdivision (1) of this subsection.

(3) The chief executive officer of the vendor shall sign a sworn affidavit that the source code and other material in escrow is the same being used in its voting systems in this State. The chief executive officer shall ensure that the statement is true on a continuing basis.

(4) The vendor shall promptly notify the State Board of Elections and the county board of elections of any county using its voting system of any decertification of the same system in any state, of any defect in the same system known to have occurred anywhere, and of any relevant defect known to have occurred in similar systems.

(5) The vendor shall maintain an office in North Carolina with staff to service the contract.

(b) Penalties. – Willful violation of any of the duties in subsection (a) of this section is a Class G felony. Substitution of source code into an operating voting system without notification as provided by subdivision (a)(2) of this section is a Class I felony. In addition to any other applicable penalties, violations of this section are subject to a civil penalty to be assessed by the State Board of Elections in its discretion in an amount of up to one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) per violation. A civil penalty assessed under this section shall be subject to the provisions of G.S. 163‑278.34(e).

The only reason voting vendors could hate the bill is they don’t want to admit how flawed and defective their software is. Its easier on them if the voters find out the hard way….


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