Legal

Legal

Description:
County-level organizations will pursue legal actions to enforce compliance with state election laws currently being violated by county elections departments.

Violations include abridgement of the public's right to observe all phases of the voting process, to inspect voting systems, to have votes reported at the precinct level, to have recount laws uniformly applied, and to have access to recounts without the assessment of prohibitively high fees.

Our legal team will appeal to county district attorneys and grand juries, and state attorneys general to uphold state election laws being breached; but, in the event government law enforcement fails to enforce the election laws, the Alliance will engage our own attorneys to file class action suits against county and state elections departments and voting vendors who are noncompliant with state election laws.

Additionally, we will file injunctions to block the purchase, deployment, or use of voting systems that are not legally qualified according to state voting system standards, or that otherwise fail to comply with state election regulations or laws, including state bond acts for funding purchase of voting equipment.

We will also file suit to enjoin the use of any voting system that contains known security risks, or that otherwise constitutes a threat to electoral integrity or a waste of public funds. Where "sunshine" or "public right to know" or other relevant clauses in state constitutions present opportunity, we will sue to reverse the privatization of public elections by prohibiting proprietary source code in any voting system, and require that, if any voting software is used at all, it must be publicly developed and managed as a truly open-source software application.


Members:
Ken Karan CA
Tom Manaugh TX
Andi Novick  NY
Mark E. Smith CA
Dan Ashby CA
Gail Jonas  CA

GO TO THE FORUM (Forum access requires Working Group registration)


Corporations Are Not the People: A PEN Action to Reverse 'Citizens United' Court Ruling

The following action has been prepared by PEN (People's E-mail Network) in response to the U.S. Supreme Court rulling in 'Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission' asserting that corporate money in politics is the equivalant of the right of free speech by individual citizens. 

Using the PEN action page, you can simultaneously send a letter to:

(1)  Your U.S. Representative in Congress
(2)  Both your U.S. Senators, and
(3)  The editorial letters page of your regional newspaper


Action Page: Corporations Are NOT The People
http://www.peaceteam.net/action/pnum1029.php

Congress must act swiftly to block and override this Court ruling by enacting legislation to reject the "Corporate Personhood" doctrine and reassert that governments regulate corporations, not the other way around.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D FL 8) has already assembled proposed legislation in the House to counter the Court's ruling.  Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) is doing the same in the Senate.
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VoterGA Considering U.S. Supreme Court Appeal

VoterGA, the Georgia election integrity coalition that carried a landmark, constitution-based challenge to computerized voting through the Georgia court system, only to have the Georgia Supreme Court dismiss the case in disregard of undisputed points of evidence, has issued the following public letter to outline case issues and prospects, and to gauge public support, as they consider whether to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court. VoterGA is seeking pledges of financial commitment to see this case through. Initiating the appeal will cost $20,000 to $25,000.

U.S. Supreme Court Appeal Considerations

VoterGA Supporters,

We now are at the most significant crossroads in the history of our landmark voting rights case.  We must quickly make a decision whether or not to appeal the Constitutional arguments of the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. I have tried to assemble the facts with as little bias as possible for your consideration. Some major areas for your consideration are:

    ·    The Georgia Supreme Court Ruling
    ·    The Basis for a U.S. Supreme Court Appeal
    ·    Appeal Costs
    ·    Appeal Benefits
    ·    Appeal Risks
    ·    Other Federal Alternatives
GA Supreme Court Ruling:
In considering whether or not to appeal, it is important to have an understanding of the Georgia Supreme Court decision. The decision had no dissenters and was slightly more substantial than the state superior court ruling but it still had the same basic flaws:

    ·    The court denied our normal right to a trial on all 13 counts of the lawsuit although we factually disputed 41 assertions made to the court by the Attorney General’s office and cited 17 lower court conclusions that had no basis in case evidence;

    ·    The court defied all U.S. Supreme Court case law for ballot counting and recounting by refusing to apply strict scrutiny to our fundamental right of voting;

    ·    The court instead applied a minimal standard of scrutiny and ruled that the former Secretary had a rational basis for implementing the machines in spite of the evidence we presented showing:

    a.    The machines do not have an independent audit trail of each vote cast as the law required. That law was in effect when the machines were procured, evaluated, allegedly certified and purchased;

    b.    The office of the Secretary of State was warned in advance of the need for voter verification, recount retention and audit controls by numerous governmental and public sources including a State Senate Committee, the head of Fulton County Elections and the 21st Century Voting Commission Report;

    c.    There was no compelling need for the Secretary to commit $54 million of taxpayer funds to replace many auditable voting machines with a statewide implementation of voting machines that cannot be properly audited.

    ·     The opinion written by Justice George Carley was cleverly worded to ignore nearly every shred of evidence that we presented, just as the lower court order did.

    ·    The opinion made conclusions with no basis in fact such as: “However, the undisputed evidence shows that the touch screen machines accurately record each vote when they are properly operated.” No such evidence was ever submitted in the case and it is technically impossible to produce the evidence without an independent audit trail.

    ·    The opinion made unsubstantiated conclusions that were in direct conflict with the facts in the case record such as:  “…uncontroverted evidence shows that the Secretary of State has properly certified the DRE voting system pursuant to O.C.G.A. 21-2-379-2.” That code section requires the Secretary of State to produce a “report."  We explained that the certification reports were never produced for the current equipment. Only certificates were provided for them.

In addition, no reports or certificates of any kind were produced for machines used in the 2001-2002 time period. Thus it is impossible for the evidence to be uncontroverted. Furthermore, we showed that the tabulation servers can never be certified according to federal guidelines, as secretary of state policy requires, because the servers cannot prevent fraudulent vote manipulation as the guidelines require.

 In summary, we did everything we needed to do to win this case in the Georgia Supreme Court:

·    Our briefs clearly presented the evidence and case law while refuting all material assertions made by the opposition;
·    Walker did what we believed to be a very good job at the GA Supreme Court oral arguments;
·    Todd followed up with a letter at the request of the Court that clearly applied all U.S. Supreme Court case law to our case and refuted the exact case law presented by the opposition because it was unrelated to ballot counting and recounting.

The court had everything it needed to make a decision based on the merits of the case but chose to ignore those merits. Since the case law and evidence we presented was never refuted by either court, I can only assume that the courts made a biased decision to protect state interests or those involved.

Why German High Court Ruled E-Voting Unconstitutional

Originally published at OpEdNews
October 15, 2009

E-Voting Ruled Unconstitutional in Germany: An Interview with Dr. Ulrich Wiesner

Dr. Wiesner Filed a Lawsuit in Germany Claiming E-Voting Unconstitutional, and Won

By Kathleen Wynne

The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society;
and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies,
to secret oaths and to secret proceedings.
 
-- John F. Kennedy

No words were ever more relevant than these are when it comes to our elections and the counting of our votes. When did secrecy take precedence over transparency in the counting of our votes in America through the use of electronic voting systems and, more importantly, why? What the majority of Americans have NOT heard about, but most election reform advocates are already aware of, is the German Constitutional Court's recent decision to ban electronic voting in Germany by ruling it “unconstitutional.”

Let's think about this for a minute. By using a Constitution, similar to our own, and which had to be approved of by the U.S. after World War II, Germany has, through its High Court, determined that computerized, secret vote counting does not subscribe to the democratic standards of their country! Yet, still here in America, 95% of us are using some sort of computerized voting system to cast and/or count our ballots---completely government sanctioned, corporate controlled, using software protected from public scrutiny by trade secret laws. NO ONE can guarantee even a single voter that their vote is being counted as cast. What's wrong with this picture?

It is, indeed, encouraging that support is growing for a return to public hand-counts here in the U.S. and, as a result, we may someday soon reach a “critical mass” of support largeenough to put pressure on our courts to also recognize this fundamental right and “persuade” them to rule in a similar fashion as the German Court. When that day comes, we will be forever indebted to our German counterparts.

Obviously, the significance of the German Court's ruling is not only a sea change in how elections will be administered in Germany , which are now to be done by properly administered public hand-counts, but I see it as a powerful new tool that can be used by election reform advocates in achieving similar reform in the U.S.

Bev Harris, Founder of Black Box Voting.org, and Paul Lehto, an attorney from Washington State and election reform advocate, have both written excellent articles analyzing the Court's decision to ban electronic voting and are must reads.

Harris' article, Let's Get Off The Hampster Wheel, was featured in Democracy For New Hampshire (as well as on other websites). Lehto's article, Germany Bans Computerized Voting, Will Hand Count in 2009, was featured in OpEdNews (as well as on other websites).
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