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“software [programming] listings, while helpful to the examiners, .. . are only a starting point. How do we know, for example, what changes to the software might have been made since the listing [computer printout of the program] was produced, or even whether the machine in question embodies the particular version of software submitted? “In summary, it is flatly impossible [to issue] any recertification on any system without a thorough in-person examination.” Keller had informed Shamos about Glossbrenner’s provisions \(now passed by follows: “Basically, the bill prohibits the secretary of state from certifying or recertifying a voting system if two of his examiners or the attorney general or the attorney general’s examiner recommends against approval.” In his letter on the first of this month, Shamos endorsed these provisions “because of the evident problems the AG is having securing the cooperation of the secretary of state in the recertification process” and added that unless Glossbrenner’s provisions are adopted, “I cannot continue to serve in this role.” This is the line which presented to the Republicans in the know on this matter the prospect of Mattox’s man resigning, giving Mattox the occasion to allege Republican resistance to the prevention of computerized election fraud. Mattox slammed the situation home to Rains on March 8 by handdelivering Shamos’s letter to Brad Gahm, Rains’s present assistant secretary of state, along with a letter in which one man who wants to be governor asserted to another man who wants to be governor: “Please consider this my urgent request that your office contact the several examiners to schedule public examinations of all the [voting and vote-counting] systems which you have conditionally certified. It is imperative that we proceed with the process of determining which voting systems available for use by Texas voters are capable of recording the voters’ intent and are secure from fraud or manipulation.” Mattox sent copies of these missives to Glossbrenner and all members of her election committee, which had scheduled a East Dallas Printing Company Full Service Union Printing 211 S. Peak Dallas, Tx 75226 hearing on these and other matters shortly after this edition of the Observer had to go to press. IT IS NO SECRET,” Shamos wrote the Texas AG’s office last October 25 in the pre-election period “that the secretary of state’s office has not been enthusiastic about conducting examinations or reexaminations. I am unable to say whether it is coincidence that the largest vendor of election equipment in the U.S. is located in Dallas.” This was a reference to Cronus Industries of Dallas, whose election division services and provides programming for the counting of more votes than any other election company in the country. Contending that no voting-system exam can be conducted legally in Texas without him present, Shamos said he had been notified of only two examinations by Rains’s office, in one case after the exam was over. In the second instance, Shamos participated in an examination in Dallas last January 8 of the VoTech computerized system now used in Dallas County. “I any pretty bent out of shape about this,” Glossbrenner said. 6 6 . . it was impossible to conduct a meaningful exam during the time provided,” Shamos told the AG’s office. “The vendor did not supply sufficient technical information to allow the examiners to prepare any tests.” In general, Shamos said, “it is all too common in voting system exams to have the vendor desperately trying to conceal major flaws in its equipment.” In this context, the political importance of the subject became manifest. Five days before last year’s general election, Mattox accused Rains of having failed to ensure the security of computerized voting systems in Texas. Mattox’s spokesperson, Elna Christopher, was quoted: “It appears that although Texas passed the model law in the country for trying to make sure that computerized voting systems are secure, the secretary of state flagrantly ignored the law.” Rains, in a written retort just before the voting, told Mattox the voting systems were “conditionally certified” and that his office had had “great difficulty” contacting Shamos. Last December Glossbrenner held a hearing on “the issue of the implementation” of the 1986 law. Rep. A. M. Aikin, D-Commerce, a member of the elections committee, expressed the seldom-mentioned unease this subject causes in the following terms: Nobody has suggested that a presidential election has been fixed by computer hackers, [but] we can’t afford to have any misunderstanding that we in fact do not know exactly how an electronically cast ballot is processed. That’s the sense of urgency that we feel about this. . . There are a lot of folks around in the country . . . who would be stunned if they found out how many ballots are counted on a relatively small number of computer programs that very few people understand and even a smaller number actually have access to for verification. . . . Anywhere there’s access if there’s a way to program it, there’s a way to reprogram it. . . . [One of these days] there’s going to be some mini-series about a fixed presidential election in the year 2000. .. . While it may not be likely, it could, you know, be possible in a series of close [local] elections around the country. H.B. 1412 appropriated $50,000 to the secretary of state’s office for equipment which would give the office the ability to conduct its own recounts of computercounted elections. Tom Harrison, the new election division chairperson for the office, conceded to Glossbrenner that this money had not been spent and that the recertification process had not been moved along. Citing elections conducted and the coming and going of staff members, Harrison said: “I will take full responsibility for not having been as diligent as I should have.” Still, he said, the November election had been honest for two reasons, the honesty of election officials and the one-percent manual recount of computer-counted results that is required by the new law and generally was conducted across the state. “I am pretty bent out of shape by this matter,” Chairperson Glossbrenner told Harrison. “I don’t want to wait until there is a scandal with electronic voting systems. . . . I sure want the law to be enforced.” Harrison, replied that all the controlling computer source-codes used in voting systems in Texas had been received by his office and that he would personally take over the rest of the recertification process. THESE WERE the events which culminated March 8 in Mattox’s direct challenge to Rains to get going immediately on examining and permanently certifying computerized Texas votecounting systems. In its closing weeks the legislature will decide whether to make it impossible for Rains to recertify the voting systems without the approval of two of Rains’s three examiners and of Mattox’s Michael Shamos. Rains may continue to balk at such legislation and Governor Clements might veto it, but it is well understood that the potential cost to Rains as a gubernatorial candidate could then be the defeat, by a legislature aware of his gubernatorial ambitions, of any electoral reforms he could call his own. 0 12 MAY 19, 1989