By John Gideon on 2/5/2006, 3:31pm 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 30 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!...

This week has been rather quiet. There hasn't really been anything that could be categorized as being 'earth-shattering' so this week's selections have been hard.

#5 - Questions about whether California should move toward using electronic voting systems that rely on "open source software" and how exactly voting systems are tested and certified for use will be the subject of two hearings scheduled today by Senator Debra Bowen (D-Redondo Beach), the chairwoman of the Senate Elections, Reapportionment & Constitutional Amendments Committee as announced in a Press Release and subsequent VoteTrustUSA article.

#4 This week the state of Wisconsin approved the Vote-PAD Assistive Device for use by their counties and townships. The significance of this story, as related by The BradBlog is that the state conferred with the U.S. Dept. of Justice. According to the Vote-PAD press release and The BradBlog article, "Wisconsin State Elections Board executive director, Kevin Kennedy, announced the state's approval of the Vote-PAD after "considerable time" spent conferring with U.S. Dept. of Justice attorneys. The response, he said, after examining the device, was that the DoJ saw nothing "that should stop Wisconsin from proceeding with approval" of Vote-PAD for use in the state."

#3 The Associated Press has reported that the state of Florida has ordered Leon County to return $564,421 in HAVA funds that were earmarked for new voting equipment. This move is an apparent attempt to pressure the Leon County Elections Director, Ion Sancho, into changing his mind about moving from Diebold optical-scan to another vendor's machines.

#2 A number of national and state legislative actions are taking place that are of interest to voting activists and others. An 'Action Alert' has been called in Washington where HB-2532 will fill the gap that presently exists due to a lack of any audit on ballots counted by optical-scan voting systems. This action joins others previously announced regarding national and local legislation. Nationally HR-4666 was introduced by Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA) with co-sponsors including Congressman Holt (D-NJ) and others. This legislation will ensure that states and counties who are making honest attempts at meeting HAVA will have more time. In Maryland HB-244 would require voter verified paper records and mandatory audits of voting machines.

#1 The number one story for this week is the seizure of ballots from the '04 District 20 legislative race in Maricopa Co., AZ. After the county refused to honor a subpoena issued by a state senate committee the FBI stepped in with their own subpoena. The subpoena did not stop with just the ballots as it included the mail-in envelopes. It will be interesting to see what the FBI reports when they have completed their investigation.