An elections contest has been filed in Santa Barbara County (Calif) which -- if it succeeds -- would open the door for harassment, mass disenfranchisement, and election tampering using poison pills.
After the election is canvassed and certified, candidates have the option to file a contest if they believe they can prove that something improper happened. The Santa Barbara lawsuit illustrates an issue that appears to be unique to the USA -- we rarely hear of this issue in Canada, or England, or Scandinavia. Our voter lists are simply too fluid and too easily manipulated, with cumbersome and somewhat impractical checks and balances in some areas, and missing safeguards in others. This results in both improper purging of voters and as alleged in this lawsuit, can result in improper acceptance of ineligible votes.
To see more details on the lawsuit, go to the full article at BlackBoxVoting.org:
In a nutshell:
(1) Candidate Steve Pappas proposes to eliminate the votes of entire precincts for the Nov. 2004 election, based on the contention that a few voters were ineligible. This would set a horrific precedent. Of course, you can't purge just the votes of any voters found to be ineligible, because votes are anonymous. Therefore this lawsuit proposes purging ALL the votes in certain precincts, eligible and ineligible, which would not only wrongfully disenfranchise legitimate voters, but would set a precedent that could allow tampering with elections by injecting a few ineligible voters in key precincts as "poison pills."
(2) This lawsuit illustrates how the Help America Vote Act can be used against voters. This kind of litigation imposes what is probably an unsustainable burden of diligence on poll workers and election officials to research every voter registration and voter who shows up to vote.
(3) This lawsuit alleges "potentially" improper registrations. We don't want ineligible people voting, but we certainly don't want registering to vote to cause voter intimidation through personal investigations or harassment.
All of which points to the need to take a much closer look at how the civilized nations like Canada, England, Germany, Scandinavia handle their voter lists. Black Box Voting has not taken a position on specific reforms for US voter list problems. Purging, caging, stuffing, sidelining, and switching eligibility on and off are all possible with our current system. Whereas simple improvements are now becoming available for some of the issues with electronic and computerized vote counting (like the Humboldt County Transparency Project and Time Slice data release), we would like to hear your suggestions and feedback on solutions for our overly cumbersome and tamper-friendly voter eligibility system.
Just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to communicate about any of these issues.
Founder - Black Box Voting