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NJ lawsuit on constitutionality of electronic voting machines shows the way for NY State

By Liz Rich, NY activist  Posted by Joan Brunwasser (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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To: Westchester Board of Elections Commissioners

Below is an article about the question of the constitutionality of electronic voting machines. If this suit is successful, it would most likely lead to abandonment of electronic voting machines by New York State. I hope you will agree that it would be better to start with a paper ballot/optical scan system than have to transition to it after buying electronic voting machines.

"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"


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 laws.

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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.

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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 917-617-3524.

CONTACT:
Contact: Janet Donohue, Manager of Public Relations, t: 973-353-5553, f: 973-353-1717, or email: jdonohue@andromeda.rutgers.edu

Allegra Dengler
Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522

http://citizensforvotingintegrity.org/
http://www.nyvv.org/

"... touch-screen machines are highly vulnerable to being hacked or maliciously programmed to change votes. And they cost far more than voting machines should." New York Times editorial, March 9, 2005

 

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)
 

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