Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 10 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 1/10/09

Black Box Voting: Santa Barbara lawsuit would set dangerous precedents

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   3 comments
Author 2399
Message Bev Harris
Become a Fan
  (5 fans)

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

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 if you would like to communicate about any of these issues.

Bev Harris
Founder - Black Box Voting

Rate It | View Ratings

Bev Harris Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Bev Harris is executive director of Black Box Voting, Inc. an advocacy group committed to restoring citizen oversight to elections.
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Black Box Voting: WISCONSIN VOTE SPREAD 29,207? 7,500? Or 6,744?

2008 election results to be routed to private middlemen in Illinois, Colorado & Kentucky

Dear Maine GOP: 1+1+1 does not = 4. Official results are wrong

Racial Profiling on Tennessee Voter Reg Cards

Bev Harris: Actual Accenture Voter List Software Discovered and Downloadable to the Public


To View Comments or Join the Conversation: