Lawsuit to Name Sec. of State Bruce McPherson, Alleges 'Severe Security Risk', Noncompliance with HAVA's Disabled-Voting Provisions, and Violation of CA State Law!
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2006, 2:28pm PT  

UPDATE 3/21/06: Suit now filed, full coverage here...

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We've hinted of late at upcoming legal actions, in several states, against the use of Diebold voting machines. The BRAD BLOG can now reveal that such a legal action will be filed tomorrow morning in San Francisco's Superior State Court in response to Secretary of State Bruce McPherson's recent re-certification of Diebold Electronic Voting Machines in the state.

VoterAction.org is announcing their intention to file suit, on behalf of several plaintiffs, "aimed at halting the use or purchase of Diebold electronic voting systems" in the state.

The same group recently carried out a similar action in the state of New Mexico, in regard to the use of Sequoia Touch-Screen voting machines there. That suit ultimately led to the ban of use of such machines, and a bill which was recently signed by Gov. Bill Richardson requiring a paper ballot with every vote cast in the state.

Diebold's optical-scan and touch-screen systems were revealed last December to contain "interpreted code" which is banned by Federal Voting System Standards. It was that "interpreted code" which was exploited in the recent hack of a test election in Leon County, FL where the results of the election were completely flipped without a trace being left behind.

Despite that startling revelation, California's Sec. of State Bruce McPherson certified the systems anyway in California, after they had previously been decertified in 2004 when Diebold admitted they had used untested and uncertified software patches on their machines in the state.

Diebold has now admitted [PDF] that their voting systems, both optical-scan and touch-screen, contain such "interpreted code." That, despite the fact that its use is banned at the Federal level. California state law requires that voting systems certified in the state meet those Federal standards. McPherson, apparently, has chosen to blatantly ignore that state law. (We'll have further details outlining the above allegations very specifically, and in no uncertain terms, in a future post here at BRAD BLOG.)

According to VoterAction's press release (posted in full below), the legal action is being filed because "Diebold's TSx touch screen voting system is a severe security risk, and does not accommodate all disabled voters as required by law."

Sources have told The BRAD BLOG that the action is to encompass many, if not all, of California's counties. Some 18 of them are currently doing business with Diebold.

The press release goes on to charge that, "The Diebold system is difficult if not impossible to audit or recount, and has been proven vulnerable to malicious tampering in tests and studies. Diebold technology contains 'interpreted' code, which is easily hacked, and illegal for voting systems in the State of California."

Diebold is currently facing litigation in several investor class action lawsuits alleging Securities Fraud Violations such as insider trading and the false manipulation of stock prices by eight current and former company officials.

A press conference will be held to discuss the latest legal action involving Diebold tomorrow morning. The complete Press Release from VotersUnite.org follows...

MEDIA ADVISORY
March 17, 2006, San Francisco, CA
Contact: Info@VoterAction.org

Dolores Huerta Joins California Voters Filing Suit to Halt Use or Purchase of Diebold Electronic Voting Systems in the State

Voter Action to Hold March 21st News Conference, 10:30 -11:30 AM, PST

Who:
Lowell Finley, Esq., Counsel for voter plaintiffs, Co-director of Voter Action, and expert on election law, election privatization, and electronic voting machine issues
John Eichhorst, Esq., Co-counsel, Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin
Holly Jacobson, Co-director, Voter Action
Dolores Huerta, Plaintiff, and social activist, co-founder, United Farm Workers
Bernice Kandarian, Plaintiff, and President of the Council of Citizens with Low Vision International

Voter Action, www.voteraction.org, is a not for profit organization dedicated to providing legal, research and logistical support for grassroots efforts to ensure the integrity of elections by guaranteeing that every citizens vote is recorded and counted as intended. Voter Action led successful litigation in New Mexico to block purchase and use of the types of voting machines that are most prone to error and most vulnerable to tampering, and is now supporting similar efforts in numerous states across the country.

What:
Attorneys Lowell Finley and John Eichhorst, on behalf of more than 20 California voters including Dolores Huerta and Bernice Kandarian, will brief media on a legal action to be filed on Tuesday, March 21, in the Superior Court of the State of California, aimed at halting the use or purchase of Diebold electronic voting systems. Ms. Huerta and Ms. Kandarian will also speak and answer media questions.

Why:
Diebold's TSx touch screen voting system is a severe security risk, and does not accommodate all disabled voters as required by law. The Diebold system is difficult if not impossible to audit or recount, and has been proven vulnerable to malicious tampering in tests and studies. Diebold technology contains "interpreted" code, which is easily hacked, and illegal for voting systems in the State of California.

Where:
Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin
Three Embarcadero Center, 10th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111

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