By John Gideon on 1/22/2006, 7:08pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, of VotersUnite and VoteTrustUSA

The "DVN Top 5" is a feature in the weekly voting newsletter of VoteTrustUSA. The January 16 edition can be found here. The selection of what will be the "Top 5" for each week and where it goes on the list is all mine. The fact that you may disagree with my choices is great because it shows that you have been reading the DVN articles that I've posted throughout the week here on The BRAD BLOG!...

#5 – Vote-By-Mail Discussed in California and Tucson, Arizona – This week, as reported in the San Mateo County Times some Northern California counties were on the look-out for a 'champion' in the state legislature. The concerns over voting machines and whether any voting system will be ready for this year's elections, on top of the success of the program in Oregon and Washington, has caused these counties to consider the change to all vote-by-mail.

According to the Arizona Daily Star the city of Tucson is also looking into Vote-by-Mail as a means of saving money and improving voter turnout.

#4 – Lawsuits Advance in Westmoreland and Bucks Co.s, Pennsylvania and New Mexico – The lawsuit in Westmoreland Co., PA has now been sent to state court to be heard, according to The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. In the meantime, according to reports from the Associated Press advocates in Bucks County have filed two law suits to stop the replacement of lever machines in 24 PA counties.

In New Mexico a judge released the local elections officials from a lawsuit filed against them and the state. However, the suit is still active against the state and will now result in court action. John Boyd, the plaintiffs' attorney told the New Mexican that last Wednesday's rulings means the groups' lawsuit to keep Sequoia AVC Edge touch-screen machines out of the state's elections will probably go all the way to trial. “It means we will have the chance to prove that those machines are unreliable, and we believe we can do that,” he said.

#3 – The Maricopa County, Arizona election fraud investigation has ramped up this week – A state senate ethics panel cleared state Senator Harper of any wrong doing in the way computer expert Doug Jones was brought into the state to investigate the issue with the administration of the voting machines during the November 2004 elections. Meanwhile, as reported by The BRAD BLOG, the investigation continues into the handling of ballots in Maricopa County.

#2 – New, paper-based, low-tech voting ideas have to be big news. This week Yolo County, California
announced
that they were going to use Vote-PAD as their means of providing the HAVA required accessibility for voters with disabilities. As reported by WiredNews this new product may "rock the disabled vote". The Yolo County announcement will surely be only the beginning.

#1 – New legislation will take the state of Virginia a long way toward giving the voters in the state confidence that their vote is being correctly counted. As reported by VoteTrustUSA both HB 1243 and SB 424 would require that electronic voting machines be equipped to produce a paper record of each vote that can be verified by the voter and used in audits and recounts. They further mandate a 5% random post election manual audit of 5% of the voter-verified paper records. In the case of a discrepancy between the paper and electronic totals, the paper record shall take precedence in a recount unless the court finds clear and convincing evidence that there is reason to do otherwise.

VoteTrustUSA has joined Virginia Verified Voting and The New Electoral Reform Alliance for Virginia in an Action Alert encouraging Virginia voters to send an email to their legislators to urge them to pass this legislation.