By Andrew Gumbel, L.A. CityBeat, May 27, 2004
As Los Angeles’ registrar-recorder, Conny McCormack is responsible for running elections in the most populous county in the United States, with more than four million registered voters and almost 5,000 precincts covering 88 cities, 100 school districts, and every conceivable ethnicity and language. This has made her an important national figure in the growing controversy over electronic voting systems.
McCormack spoke to CityBeat in response to our report that she had asked Diebold to make software changes in L.A. County for last October’s recall election without getting the changes certified. She offered no denial of the charge that she had circumvented the legal requirement for certification; when pressed on the issue, she ended the conversation.
CityBeat: How do you respond to the charge by Kim Alexander of the California Voter Foundation that you put 40,000 votes at risk by asking Diebold to alter the software on the eve of the recall election?
Conny McCormack: That woman has absolutely no credentials in elections. It’s almost laughable. She says I put 40,000 votes at risk. I would never do that. I wouldn’t have a job if I did that.
Isn’t proper certification of election software an issue?
We have been using and patching software in L.A. County for over 30 years. Whenever changes are made, an incredible amount of testing is done – literally thousands of checks. Now, there have been infractions by all vendors, including in L.A. County. We have not been dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” to certify all the software. But it would be the biggest irony, to me, to have someone say that because we hadn’t done it by such-and-such a date we couldn’t do it. We saw a similar situation in Maryland when they had their primary on March 2. They wanted to put in some security enhancements which hadn’t gone through all of the testing labs, so they decided they were going to waive [the certification process], because it was more important to have the security enhancements than to have finalization of the process.