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Important legal decision re voting machine by NJ Appeals Court

By Mary Ann Gould and Ruth Matheny of the Coalition for Voting Integrity  Posted by Joan Brunwasser (about the submitter)     Permalink
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The New Jersey Appeals Court has agreed with concerns raised that electronic voting machines used in NJ (paperless touchscreens, with no voter verified ballots presently available) may violate NJ Constitution and election laws and has reinstated the lawsuit. A Press release issued by Rutgers Constitutional Litigation Law Clinic is noted below. The Coalition for Voting Integrity considers this an important step forward and that it is supportive of our own lawsuit in PA which challenges constitionality as well as additional issues especially those relating to certification standards of electronic voting machines.

On Jan 18, 2006, the Coalition for Voting integrity, and its' cofounders Mary Ann Gould and Ruth Matheny, filed a lawsuit against Pedro Cortes, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Complaint alleges that Cortes erroneously discounted lever voting systems, applied inconsistent certification standards to the voting system being reviewed for Pennsylvania, and that the integrity, security and proof of the voters' ballots are not being sufficiently considered to satisfy United States and Pennsylvania constitutional standards. (Further details may be found on or contact us by email or telephone 215.357.5206)


NJ Appeals Court Reinstates Lawsuit Challenging Constitutionality of
Electronic Voting Machines

February 09, 2006
Newark, NJ, February 9, 2006 - The New Jersey Appellate Division announced
today its agreement with concerns raised by the Constitutional Litigation
Clinic at Rutgers School of Law-Newark that all electronic voting machines
used in New Jersey may violate New Jersey's Constitution and election
In its decision, the Appellate Division reinstated a lawsuit filed by the
clinic in 2004 that challenges the ability of New Jersey's electronic
voting machines to count votes accurately, in compliance with voting
rights laws. The Court reinstated the lawsuit even though, as a result of
judicial and legislative efforts led by the clinic, all voting machines in
the state must be equipped with a voter verified paper ballot component by
2008. The Court was concerned with protecting the hundreds of millions of
votes that would be cast on voting machines between now and 2008. The
Court also expressed its concern that the Attorney General's office would
use a loophole in the statute and issue waivers to the 2008 voter verified
paper ballot requirement - further jeopardizing the franchise.
The lawsuit is the first in the nation to successfully challenge
electronic voting machines. Professor Penny Venetis, associate director of
the clinic and lead counsel on the case, commented, "This shows that our
courts take very seriously their role in protecting our most fundamental
of all rights - the right to vote. Despite clear evidence that New
Jersey's voting machines are insecure, the other branches of government
failed to take appropriate action. That is why the Court stepped in,"
Venetis added.
The same voting machines used by almost all of New Jersey's five million
registered voters have been found too insecure to use and have been
de-commissioned by California, Ohio, Nevada, and New York City. New Jersey
does not check the software of electronic voting machines to determine
whether they have been tampered with or whether they are faulty.
The Rutgers clinic filed the suit on behalf of the Coalition for Peace
Action, a citizens group based in Princeton that has been in the forefront
of advocating for safe, transparent and auditable elections, as well as
voter Stephanie Harris, a farmer whose vote was lost by a malfunctioning
Mercer County electronic voting machine. Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit
include State Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, an early proponent of the voter
verified paper ballot.
For more information, contact Professor Venetis at 973-353-5687 or
Contact: Janet Donohue, Manager of Public Relations, t: 973-353-5553, f:
973-353-1717, or email:
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