Court Upholds Colorado Voters Challenge to Electronic Voting System Certification - New Standards, Testing for Security to be Required Post-November
Judge orders Secretary of State to produce and implement voting security plan for all counties
In a legal victory this afternoon in the Colorado voters' lawsuit challenging Secretary of State's Gigi Dennis' cursory certification of electronic voting systems manufactured by Diebold, Sequoia, ES & S, and Hart, the District Court in Denver decided that it will not permit the use of these systems post November 7th until real security standards are adopted and the machines are retested to meet these standards. In his ruling, Judge Lawrence Manzanares said the Secretary of state had failed to create minimum security standards, as required by state law, and did an "abysmal" job of documenting the testing during its certification process. He also ordered the Secretary of State to adopt state-wide security standards before the November 2006 election, and ensure compliance from all Colorado counties using the machines.
"The Colorado voter plaintiffs are extremely pleased with this victory. The Court's decision upholds our challenge to the reliability of the certification process as well as the security of the vote when electronic voting systems are in use," said Paul Hultin, Counsel for the plaintiffs, who led the litigation team at Wheeler Trigg & Kennedy LLP, in Denver, which is providing pro bono legal services in the case.
"The Court's ruling is a victory for the plaintiffs and for all voters in Colorado who are concerned about upholding the integrity of the vote. The Court's decision is tantamount to de-certification of the electronic voting systems of the four major electronic voting machines, which is what the Colorado voter plaintiffs have been fighting for. The stakes are too high, and elections too critical to turn them over to private vendors with troubled histories and no accountability," said Lowell Finley, co-director of Voter Action and co-counsel in the Colorado case and in similar voters lawsuits in California, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico.
"Electronic voting machine breakdowns have wreaked havoc in recent state primaries, disenfranchising thousands of voters and calling into question election results, " said Holly Jacobson co-director of Voter Action. "While we are pleased with today's verdict, the serious security flaws inherent in electronic voting technology - confirmed in a new study by Princeton University experts last week, underscore the need for more secure and verifiable voting systems. Paper ballots do not fail to boot up and can be reliably counted, audited and recounted. This is why half the counties in the country are using them. Maryland 's Governor Ehrlich announced his support for returning his state to paper ballots earlier this week".
Media Contact: Holly Jacobson, Co-director, Voter Action, www.voteraction.org, (206) 769-7185, Connie Proulx, Wheeler Trigg Kennedy LLP, (303) 244-1919, or Emma Mackinnon, FENTON, (646) 623-7998, IM emmaatfenton.