The image “http://www.votetrustusa.org/images/votetrust-small2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

 

The nation's clearinghouse for election audit information!
State and Local Election Integrity Organizations
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Maryland
Michigan
Minnesota
Missouri
Montana
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
Ohio
Oregon
Pennsylvania
South Carolina
Tennessee
Texas
Vermont
Virginia
Wisconsin
VoteTrustUSA does not speak on behalf of any of the listed organizations.
: mosShowVIMenu( $params ); break; } ?>

   
Around the States

Court Recognizes Pennsylvania Voters' Right to Reliable, Secure Voting Machines PDF  | Print |  Email
By PR Newswire   
April 12, 2007

'Great Victory' in Challenge to Use of Systems in 56 Counties Statewide

 

Download the Court Ruling

 

A Pennsylvania court held late today that voters have a right under the commonweath's constitution to reliable and secure voting systems and can challenge the use of electronic voting machines "that provide no way for Electors to know whether their votes will be recognized" through voter verification or independent audit.

The ruling by the Commonweath Court allows the continuation of a suit filed last year by 26 individual Pennsylvania voters against the Secretary of State that challenged the certification of Direct Electronic Voting systems (DREs) used in 56 counties across the state.

"This is a great victory for Pennsylvania voters," said Mary Kohart, a partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, one of the lawyers representing the group of voters. The case, which ultimately seeks the decertification of the DREs, was also brought by the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP) and Chester County attorney Marian K. Schneider.


The 4-3 decision was sharply critical of the Pennsylvania Secretary of State's actions in certifying the DREs. Judge Rochelle Friedman, who authored the majority opinion, noted the certification was the result of "deficient examination criteria" which "do not approximate those that are customary in the information technology industry for systems that require a high level of security."

"Because Electors have no way of knowing whether their votes will be honestly counted by DREs that are not reliable or secure and that provide no means for vote verification or vote audit," the voters sufficiently raised a violation of the Pennsylvania constitution in their suit, the court declared.

"Across the country, both state legislatures and Congress are realizing that DRE voting systems cannot be trusted," said Michael Churchill, a lawyer with PILCOP. "More and more states are requiring optical scan paper ballots that voters mark directly or through a ballot-marking device."

Procedurally, the court's decision overruled the Secretary of State's 16 preliminary objections against the voter's August 2006 complaint. The objections claimed that the voters had no legal right to proceed with their case and no legal right to obtain the relief that they sought.

In the voters' complaint, they alleged that the DREs failed during elections in Pennsylvania and in other states by losing votes, registering votes for one candidate when the voter was attempting to vote for another candidate; causing high "undervote" rates; failing to register votes when the ballot contained only one question; counting votes twice; failing to print "zero tapes" to demonstrate that no lawful votes were stored on the machine prior to the election; printing "zero tapes" after votes had been cases; reporting phantom votes and other irregularities.

Schneider noted that last fall's elections across the country showed the unreliability of the machines. "The 2006 elections demonstrated that DREs repeatedly failed by breaking down, switching votes, losing votes and not providing the security necessary for a functional democracy," she said.

Holly Jacobson, co-director at Voter Action, noted that good alternatives exist to the unreliable electronic voting machines: "Paper balloting, with ballot marking devices for the disabled, is a more secure and accountable option, which is why states like Michigan and New Mexico and others, in addition to hundreds of counties around the country, switched in time for last November's elections."

Kohart noted that in light of today's court ruling so clearly establishing the law, "We hope that the Secretary will think about a quick settlement of this case."
Comment on This Article
You must login to leave comments...
Other Visitors Comments
You must login to see comments...
< Prev   Next >
State Resources
Election Law @ Moritz
Electionline
National Conference of State Legislatures
Verified Voting
Model Legislation
: mosShowVIMenu( $params ); break; } ?>
State Pages
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Jersey
New Hampshire
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Guam
Puerto Rico
: mosShowVIMenu( $params ); break; } ?>