Election Integrity Lawsuit

Georgia Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to DRE Machines

Source: AJC
Court Upholds Touchscreen Voting

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution    10:51 a.m. Monday, September 28, 2009

The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday upheld the use of touch-screen voting, rejecting claims the machines violate the right to vote.
GA-DRE In a unanimous ruling, the court turned back a challenge by a group of citizens who filed suit three years ago in Fulton County Superior Court. A judge had previously dismissed the suit, ruling in favor of state officials.

The group claimed their fundamental right to vote is harmed because the recording, counting and retention of their votes, unlike paper ballots, are not being properly protected, which can prevent fraudulent manipulation of the results.

But the state high court, in a ruling written by Justice George Carley, found the use of touchscreen voting systems does not severely restrict the right to vote. 

Download the Court Ruling
photocredit: eyspahn
Georgia's Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling
affirming state's right to use electronic voting machines

VoterGA Response to Today's Ruling

VoterGa Supporters,

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled today that our current form of un-auditable voting does not infringe upon the fundamental right to vote and to have our vote counted. This ruling essentially gives the state a license to pretend to conduct elections.

Not one of the 100+ million votes that have been cast on the machines since 2002 can be audited for accuracy and correctness of vote recording. Georgia  law in 2001 and 2002 required that any new machines have an independent audit trail of each vote cast.

The state’s own witnesses have acknowledged that the specific type of electronic voting machines we purchased and use do not have such an independent audit trail. The machines can only internally recreate selections that may or may not have been shown to voter. Without an independent audit trail, it is impossible to determine whether the actual ballots cast on Election Day were recorded correctly. Auditable electronic voting machines were available for purchase in 2002 as they are today.

When one or two officials can commit the state of Georgia to a $ 54 million purchase of voting equipment that was illegal at the moment of purchase, there must be some mechanism of accountability. Otherwise, public officials can operate above the law.

In this particular case, the previous boss of former Secretary of State Cox, who signed the purchase agreement, was the lobbyist for Diebold, the voting machine vendor. When the people have no recourse even for a standard trial of evidence , they become slaves to their government rather than the masters of it.

The Georgia Supreme Court also upheld the remarkable lower court decision that no trial is warranted on any count of the 13-count legal suit. The Georgia Supreme Court declined to overturn that lower court decision in spite of 17 disputes of facts cited in lower court conclusions and 41 disputes of facts cited against claims made by the state to Georgia Supreme Court.

Several of these disputes involved claims that were directly contradicted by the evidence in the record and clearly cited. Summary judgment dismissals, such as the one that the Georgia Supreme Court has just upheld, are rare in this type of case because standard procedures for any court in America require the court to hear the evidence in order to determine the facts before reaching a conclusion.

Now that the state has proven not to  be unable to rule against itself on any count, some Constitutional parts of the case could be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. While offering a more substantive decision than the lower court, the Georgia Supreme Court did not cite U.S. Supreme Court rulings related to ballot counting and recounting to corroborate its decision. All such U.S. Supreme Court rulings confirm that ballot counting and recounting requires strict scrutiny.

On the contrary, the Georgia Supreme Court decided that the state need only have a rational basis for implementing the voting systems. Even so, there is no rational basis for implementing a voting system that violates the law.

--Garland Favorito

P.S. I will send a follow-up e-mail on possible  next steps once we have had time to analyze the decision.

Download the Court Ruling


NJ Federal Court TRO Hearing on ESS-Premier Merger

Source: BLT, The Blog of Legal Times

Judge to Consider Blocking Merger of Two Voting Machine Makers

September 28, 2009

Tomorrow morning, a New Jersey federal judge will hold a hearing to decide whether to block the merger of the nation's two largest vote counting companies.

Jonathan Rubin, a Washington-based Patton Boggs partner who represents Hart InterCivic Inc., a smaller voting-machine maker, has asked Judge Robert Kugler of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey to issue a temporary restraining order, alleging that the merger of the voting division of Ohio-based Diebold and Election Systems & Software poses a "threat of irreparable harm" to voters.

The combination of the two voting-machine giants would give ES&S control of election systems used in nearly 70 percent of the country's voting precincts.

Rubin said that jurisdictions across the country, which select voting machines based on competitive bids, would have little choice but to use the systems offered by ES&S if the acquisition goes through.
“As our economist says, we’re not talking about shampoo. These companies are in the business of something that is essential to the function of democracy,” Rubin said.

Rubin said his client is seeking to have ES&S divest Diebold Inc.'s Premier Election Solutions, the company’s voting division, but would also accept having the judge order ES&S to keep Premier Election Solutions as a separate, standalone company.

The merger has also drawn the attention of Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has asked the Justice Department to review the acquisition.

A spokesman for ES&S did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Posted by Jeff Jeffrey on September 28, 2009 at 04:13 PM
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