Possible Effects of Sequoia Optech Scanners
on the Outcome of
the 2004 General Election in
Santa Fe County, New Mexico

By Judith B. Alter, Ed.D.

Executive Summary

This study describes numerous errors in the recording of votes by Sequoia Optech 4C-400 and Insight Scanners in the 2004 presidential election in Santa Fe county, New Mexico. This study revealed several patterns found by other researchers who have studied the election in the entire state of New Mexico.

Odd voting patterns emerged when the presidential results are compared to the totals of the statewide down-ticket candidates for the three voting opportunities: absentee, early voting, and Election Day. To simplify the analysis, this study examines expected but missing votes for minor party presidential candidates when minor party voters chose to vote a “straight party” option. While California does not have a similar straight party option, a secretly programmed computer or scanner can do the same sort of vote reduction and/or shifting as seems to have occurred in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2004, but it may be much harder to detect.

The absentee and early voting results showed a low under-vote rate. A vote reducing and possible vote-shifting scheme seems to have been present in the Sequoia scanners that counted hand-marked paper ballots cast during these pre-election day voting opportunities in the straight party choices for minor parties.

Because the Optech scanners California is now considering for certification were used only to tabulate pre-election day votes in Santa Fe, the author’s study of another machine (the Sequoia Advantage Direct Recording Electronic device) used to tabulate Election Day votes in Santa Fe is not discussed here.

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