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North Carolina: Diebold Attempts to Evade Election Transparency Laws PDF  | Print |  Email
Contributed by John Gideon, Information Manager, Voters Unite and VoteTrustUSA   
November 18, 2005
As the State of California bends over backwards in an attempt to give their elections to Diebold (see link), a lawsuit has been quietly filed in North Carolina to ensure that Diebold must play be the same rules as other vendors and that they must abide by state law.

Today the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced that they were going to court to prevent Diebold Elections Systems, Inc. from evading North Carolina law. EFF reported the following in a press release:
In a last-minute filing, e-voting equipment maker Diebold asked a North Carolina court to exempt it from tough new election requirements designed to ensure transparency in the state's elections.  Diebold obtained an extraordinarily broad order, allowing it to avoid placing its source code in escrow with the state and identifying programmers who contributed to the code.

On behalf of North Carolina voter and election integrity advocate Joyce McCloy, EFF asked the court to force Diebold and every other North Carolina equipment vendor to comply with the law's requirements.  A hearing on EFF's motion is set for Monday, November 28.

"The new law was passed for a reason:  to ensure that the voters of North Carolina have confidence in the integrity and accuracy of their elections," said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "In stark contrast to every other equipment vendor that placed a bid with the state, Diebold went to court complaining that it simply couldn't comply with the law.  Diebold should spend its efforts developing a system that voters can trust, not asking a court to let it bypass legal requirements aimed at ensuring voting integrity."

On November 4, the day that voting equipment bids to the state were due, Diebold obtained a temporary restraining order from a North Carolina superior court, exempting it from criminal and civil liability that could have resulted from its bid.  EFF, with the assistance from the North Carolina law firm of Twiggs, Beskind, Strickland & Rabenau, P.A., intervened in the case on behalf of McCloy, the founder of the North Carolina Coalition for Verified Voting. 

In a brief filed Wednesday, EFF argued that Diebold had failed to show why it was unable to meet various new election law provisions requiring source code escrow and identification of programmers.  North Carolina
experienced one of the most serious malfunctions of e-voting systems in the 2004 presidential election when over 4,500 ballots were lost in a voting system provided by Diebold competitor UniLect Corp.  Local officials were
forced to re-run a portion of the election.  The new transparency and integrity provisions of the North Carolina election code were passed in response to this and other documented malfunctions that have occurred across the country.
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