LibertyVote Still Suing to Force DREs on NY State

From Bo Lipari's blog, 3/22/08:

Vendor to sue NY again to allow DREs

I told you the DRE vendors are like zombies, and will never, ever stop trying to force DRE machines on New York State voters. Once again, LibertyVote and their Dutch partner Nedap are preparing to go to Court to challenge county purchases for accessible paper ballot systems, and to overturn New York State’s right to test our voting machines to the strict standards we worked so hard to achieve.

On Thursday, March 20, the Cattaraugus county Board of Elections informed the State Board that they wanted to change the order placed last month for 57 Ballot Marking Devices, and instead want to substitute LibertyVote DREs for the paper ballot systems. This is an astonishing request for several reasons – for one, orders have already been placed for the ballot markers and contracts have been completed, signed and sealed; and for another, the LibertyVote DRE has yet to undergo any testing whatsoever! Yes, that’s right, testing to New York’s rigorous standards has not yet even started, and won’t be completed until this summer at the earliest. But Cattaraugus county is telling the State Board they want to purchase the LibertyVote DRE now, essentially asking them to bypass all testing and simply approve the machine at the next Board meeting on Wednesday, March 26.

The Cattaraugus letter, signed by the county commissioners (and obviously prepared by LibertyVote/Nedap’s lawyers) lays out the vendor’s litigation strategy and arguments to the Court if the State Board refuses the county request to allow them to switch from paper ballots to an uncertified DRE. My guess - if the State Board turns down this outrageous request at the next meeting, LibertyVote/Nedap will be back in State Supreme Court before the close of business asking that New York’s certification testing be canceled and their DRE immediately approved for purchase. And based on their past success in this Court, why wouldn’t they?

But will the 4 Commissioners stand up to the DRE vendor? I certainly hope so, for granting the county’s request would fly in the face of everything the Board has said during the last three years about New York’s rigorous certification process and standards, and would essentially cancel New York’s voting machine certification testing. But there’s cause for concern that the Board may not stand their ground. As I reported in my last post, the Board demonstrated that LibertyVote/Nedap’s legal assaults on New York’s machine selection process have made them reluctant to deny approval to the vendor’s machines, even in light of evidence that they do not meet state requirements.

Let me be clear – if the State Board approves the Cattaraugus request at their meeting, they will violate the letter and the spirit of New York’s election laws and regulations which promise voters a comprehensive and complete testing regimen. If the Board approves this request, they will be enablers for a voting machine vendor that has demonstrated when they can’t win approval on merit, they are willing to force approval by litigation; a vendor that believes that the voices of voters, legislators, and election officials around New York State are but a minor annoyance that can be ignored at their choosing; ultimately, a vendor that believes that their right to profit supersedes the requirements of the law, the voters, and democracy.