Election Integrity Lawsuits

VV_Election_LawsuitsSource: VerifiedVoting.org

Here are some of the landmark lawsuits of the past few years concerning electronic voting machines and transparency in elections.
Thanks to Verified Voting.org for this compilation. There have been many more cases in recent months to be added to this list.
If you are interested in contributing to this listing or maintaining collections of legal information for the EDA website,
please join the Litigation Working Group and send an e-mail to Dan@ElectionDefenseAlliance.org.

Verified Voting Litigation

This web page summarizes litigation on the verified voting issue,
including requirements for a voter-verifiable paper audit trail.
The Verified Voting Foundation brings you this information in partnership
with the Electronic Frontier Foundation,
which is coordinating verified voting litigation nationwide.
If you have updates or corrections on verified voting litigation,
please let us know.
Thank you!

Shortcut to litigation in state of:

California flagCalifornia

American Association of People with Disabilities v. Secretary of State Kevin Shelley

Federal case under the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as state
law requiring accessible voting machines to the maximum extent feasible
in the November, 2004 elections, Declaring invalid both the California
Elections Code provision that requires accessible voting only after
funds to pay for it have been received by counties and the Secretary of
State's Shelley's November 21, 2003 directive requiring voter verified
paper ballots by 2006.

Peter Benavidez (Riverside County) et al. v. Secretary of State Kevin Shelley

Riverside County's Board of Supervisors voted on May 4, 2004,
to sue the state's top election official to regain the right to use electronic
voting machines in November.
Supervisors in Kern and Plumas counties voted on May 11, 2004, to join the lawsuit
against Shelley, followed by San Bernardino County on May 25, 2004.
The suit, filed by the counties and some disabled rights advocates in federal court,
alleges that Shelley's order requiring certain conditions for use of
electronic voting machines violates state and federal law and disenfranchises
disabled voters. After a preliminary ruling against the plaintiffs, the counties
have settled the lawsuit.

Legal documents:

Media coverage:

  • Costly Lack of Leadership, Shawn Casey O’Brien, July 15, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2599
  • 2 Counties, State Reach a Deal on E-Vote Machines, Los Angeles Times, July 14, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2601
  • County bows out of e-vote battle, Inland Valley News Bulletin, July 13, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2615
  • U.S. district judge refuses to lift state ban on electronic voting, Associated Press via Monterey Herald, July 1, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2449
  • County to join lawsuit in defense of electronic voting, County of San Bernardino, May 25, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2600
  • Board sticks with e-votes, Press-Enterprise, May 12, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2077
  • S.B. County to Defy Vote System Ban, Los Angeles Times, May 12, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2076
  • Missing Article Title, Los Angeles Times, May 5, 2004, http://www.latimes.com/technology/la-me-machines5may05,1,1569551.story?coll=la-headlines-technology

March v. Diebold

Claim filed by voters in California state court against Diebold,
the Secretary of State and local election officials based upon
California state election law for an injunction preventing Diebold from
installing uncertified voting systems and requiring security safeguards
as set forth in the RABA report
(Adobe PDF format) as well as long-term additional security measures.
The Judge denied a temporary restraining order request prior to the
March, 2004 primary election but the case is ongoing.

Media coverage:

  • Critics Sue Electronic Voting Company, Associated Press via Yahoo! News, July 11, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2512

Soubirous v. County of Riverside

A former California political candidate who lost the March 2004
race for Riverside County Board of Supervisors by only 45 votes joined
with VerifiedVoting.org and a bipartisan pair of voters to
file a lawsuit on July 16, 2004, against the county and Registrar Mischelle Townsend
after she was denied access to the memory and audit logs of the
electronic voting systems used during the election.

Legal documents:

Media coverage:

  • California Recount Case to Consider E-Voting Audit Trail, Government Technology, July 21, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2610
  • Riverside County Sued Over E-Voting, Los Angeles Times, July 17, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2604
  • E-voting faces suit by failed candidate, The Press-Enterprise, July 16, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2605
  • Primary candidate sues county over recount, North County Times, July 16, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2603
  • California Recount Case to Consider E-Voting Audit Trail, IPR via Magic City, July 16, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2587
  • E-Voting Suit Highlights Legal Lag, InternetNews.com, July 16, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2594
  • E-voting debate heats up in California, ComputerWorld, July 16, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2586
  • California Recount Case to Consider E-Voting Audit Trail, VerifiedVoting.org, July 16, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/media/releases/article.php?id=2514
  • Down for the Count, Los Angeles City Beat, June 24, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2593

Florida flag

National Federation of the Blind v. Volusia County

Legal documents:


Media Coverage:

  • Florida Court Rejects Demand for Paperless E-Voting, Kansas City infoZine, July 22, 2005, http://www.infozine.com/news/stories/op/storiesView/sid/9144/
  • EFF Supports Disabled Voters in Fight Against Paperless E-Voting, July 15, 2005,http://www.infozine.com/news/stories/op/storiesView/sid/9025/
  • Hearing Set in Touch Screen Suit, July 14, 2005, http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJournalOnline/News/Local/03AreaWEST05POLE071405.htm
  • Letters to the Editor for Wednesday, July 13, 2005, http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJournalOnline/Opinion/LettersToTheEditor/03LetterLET071305.htm
  • Florida County in Legal Fight Over E-Voting Machines, July 8, 2005, http://www.computerworld.com/printthis/2005/0,4814,103023,00.html
  • Volusia Hires Attorney in Voting Suit, July 8, 2005, http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJournalOnline/News/Politics/Headlines/03PoliticsPOLL01070805.htm

ACLU Florida v. Florida Department of State

The ACLU of Florida and other groups filed a lawsuit July 7, 2004, to overturn a
Florida Department of State rule prohibiting manual recounts
of elections conducted using touchscreen voting machines.

Legal documents:

Media coverage:

  • Suit targets Florida's ballot-recount rules, Reuters via CNETNews.com, July 7, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2595
  • Election 2004: Officials concerned about a shortage of paper votes, Naples Daily News, July 7, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2459

Wexler v. Lepore (state)

Filed by voters and candidates in state court based upon the Florida Constitution
and state election law, dismissed for lack of standing,
and now on expedited appeal in the Florida 4th District Court of Appeal.

Legal documents:

Media coverage:

  • Touch-Screen Voting Lawsuit Argued in Court, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, May 11, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2596

Wexler v. Lepore (federal)

Federal case filed by voters and candidates in federal court arising under
both federal and state law to resolve unequal treatment of voters in
15 Florida DRE counties with with no recount capability vis-a-vis 2000
U.S. Supreme Court Bush v. Gore doctrine, dismissed in favor of state court
proceedings on May 24, 2004.

Legal documents:

Media coverage:

  • On paper, Wexler's going to win, Palm Beach Post, May 26, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2220
  • Voting Printer Lawsuit Rejected, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, May 25, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2597
  • 2nd Wexler voting challenge thrown out, Palm Beach Post, May 25, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2181
  • Judge rejects suit requiring paper receipts, Miami Herald, May 25, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2182
  • Voting-receipt suit dismissed, Tallahassee Democrat, May 25, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2185
  • Article Title Unknown, Reuters, May 24, 2004, http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=politicsNews&storyID=5241008
  • Federal judge rejects Rep. Wexler's touch-screen printer lawsuit, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, May 24, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2180
  • Congressman's suit seeking touchscreen voting printouts dismissed, Associated Press via The Ledger, May 24, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2177
  • Touch-Screen Voting Lawsuit Argued in Court, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, May 11, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2596
  • The vexations of voting machines, CNN, April 26, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2602

American Association of People With Disability v. Hood

Disability-related case in Duval County with $2 million awarded in attorneys fees.

Legal citation: 310 F. Supp. 2d 1226 (M.D. Fla 2004)

Media coverage:

  • Howrey’s Pro Bono Program: A Commitment to Disability Rights, Howrey Simon Arnold & White, LLP, May 27, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2617
  • Duval County ordered to make voting accessible to all voters, Associated Press via Miami Herald, March 29, 2004, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2618
  • People with Disabilities Are Suing States on Voting, National Law Journal, April 18, 2003, http://www.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=2616 (from mirror on AAPD website)

Maryland flag

Linda Schade et al v. Maryland State Board of Elections and Linda Lamone

Maryland voters filed this case in state court on Wednesday, April
21, 2004, to decertify Diebold touch-screen voting machines and require
that the machines not be used until they comply with the RABA report
and other security measures.

Legal documents:

Media coverage:

  • http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/04/26/votingmachines.tm/
  • http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/elections/bal-vote0421,0,488636.story?coll=bal-home-headlines

North Carolina flag

North Carolina

Joyce McCloy v. The North Carolina State Board of Elections and The North Carolina Office of Information Technology Services

December 08, 2005

North Carolina Sued for Illegally Certifying Voting Equipment

EFF Asks Court to Void Approval of Diebold and Others Without Source
Code Review

Raleigh, North Carolina - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on
Thursday filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Elections
and the North Carolina Office of Information Technology Services on
behalf of voting integrity advocate Joyce McCloy, asking that the
Superior Court void the recent illegal certification of three electronic
voting systems.

North Carolina law requires the Board of Elections to rigorously review
all voting system code "prior to certification." Ignoring this
requirement, the Board of Elections on December 1st certified voting
systems offered by Diebold Election Systems, Sequoia Voting Systems, and
Election Systems and Software without having first obtained – let alone
reviewed – the system code.

"This is about the rule of law," said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman.
"The Board of Elections has simply ignored its mandatory obligations
under North Carolina election law. This statute was enacted to require
election officials to investigate the quality and security of voting
systems before approval, and only approve those that are safe and
secure. By certifying without a full review of all relevant code, the
Board of Elections has now opened the door for North Carolina counties
to purchase untested and potentially insecure voting equipment."

North Carolina experienced one of the most serious malfunctions of
e-voting systems in the 2004 presidential election when over 4,500
ballots were lost in a voting system provided by e-voting vendor UniLect
Corp. Electronic voting systems across the country have come under fire
during the past several years as unexplained malfunctions combined with
efforts by vendors to protect their proprietary systems from meaningful
review have left voters with serious questions about the integrity of
the voting process.

"North Carolina voters deserve to have their election laws enforced,"
said co-counsel Don Beskind of the Raleigh law firm of Twiggs, Beskind,
Strickland & Rabenau, P.A. "Election transparency is a requirement, not
an option. The General Assembly passed this law unanimously, and it is
now time for the Board of Elections to meet their obligations."

On behalf of McCloy, EFF and Beskind intervened in – and convinced a
judge to dismiss – a separate lawsuit filed last month by Diebold, which
sought to be exempted from the state's transparency laws. Diebold
represented to the court that it would be "unable" to comply with the
code escrow requirement of the statute. Inexplicably, the Board of
Elections certified Diebold despite it's admitted inability to comply
with the law.

A hearing in McCloy's case against the Board of Elections is set for
Wednesday, December 14. EFF and Beskind have asked the Court for a
temporary restraining order preventing North Carolina's 100 counties
from purchasing any of the recently certified systems unless and until
the Board of Elections complies with its statutory obligations.

Legal documents:
The full complaint

Ohio flag

Name Unknown

Disability-related case in which
National Federation for the Blind filed for dismissal on June 11, 2004.

Media coverage:

  • http://www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/news/state/8903381.htm?1c
  • http://www.lancastereaglegazette.com/news/stories/20040615/localnews/647659.html

Name Unknown

ACLU planning to file case based on argument that punch cards do not serve communities of various races equally.

Media coverage:


Name Unknown

The Ohio legislature passed a law that requires that ALL DREs in
Ohio have a voter-verified paper audit trail (V-VPAT) by January 2006. Citizens' Alliance for Secure Elections is planning to file a lawsuit to stop the purchase of any DREs in 2004 that do not have a V-VPAT.

Litigation fund:

Hosted by the the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), you can donate to support the litigation online at: https://secure.eff.org/step2.asp?action=Donate&otherAmount=
and make sure to specify "Ohio E-Voting Litigation" in the "why you are
joining EFF" comment box (or by sending a check to EFF, Check Memo:
Ohio E-Voting Litigation, 454 Shotwell Street, San Francisco, CA,
94110, USA).

Pennsylvania flagPennsylvania

Landes v. Tartaglione et al.

Journalist Lynn Landes announced a lawsuit July 2, 2004, challenging
the use of voting machines and absentee voting in elections for
political office.

Media coverage:

Litigation Updates

If you have updates or corrections on verified voting litgation,
let us know.