In Breaking News late this afternoon, we find yet another reason why Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems are incompatible with democracy: When an election held on them is contested, the machines themselves --- which are said to hold the ballots internally --- cannot be used in another election until the contest is settled.
Late news this afternoon, sent to The BRAD BLOG moments ago, reveals that a judge in an Alameda County, California election contest is set to rule that a contested ballot measure election from 2004 must now be reheld since the county destroyed data from the election when they sent the Diebold DRE voting systems back to the company in Plano, Texas.
All but 4% of election data, records and audit logs was overwritten in subsequent contests, according to the following release from Americans For Safe Access (ASA) who were the plaintiffs in the contest.
In 2004, Alameda was the same county where it was found that Diebold had installed uncertified hardware and software in the county's voting system. The illegal action by the company eventually led to the decertification of certain Diebold systems in California.
The judge's unprecedented decision to re-hold an election after plaintiffs were denied their right to a proper recount after the county's failure to preserve election records on the Diebold touch-screen systems could have reverberations around the country.
The ASA release explains the astounding details and background in this tale, along with the judge's tentative findings in full...
OAKLAND, CA – Superior Court Judge Winifred Y. Smith issued a tentative ruling that the Alameda County Registrar of Voters and Alameda County "have engaged in a pattern of withholding relevant evidence and failure to preserve evidence" necessary to conduct a recount of a hotly contested Berkeley ballot measure. As a result, the Court has signaled its intention to void the election and order the County to place Measure R back on the ballot for a re-vote at the next general election.
Judge Smith will issue a final ruling after the Court hears oral arguments tomorrow (Friday, July 13, at 9:30 a.m. at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse, Department 114, 661 Washington Street, Oakland).
"Judge Smith's tentative ruling confirms our contention that Alameda County violated its duty to preserve the critical voting machine data that was the focus of this recount lawsuit and election contest," said Gregory Luke of Strumwasser & Woocher LLP, attorney for the plaintiffs
who sought the recount of the vote on Measure R.
More from the press release, including background on this incredible story, the ballot measure, the long fought election contest, the overwriting of the data on the Diebold voting machines --- in violation of the law --- and the judge's tentative ruling itself, follows below...