Motion Demands Preliminary Injunction, Alleges E-Machines Are Not Secure, Not Fully Accessible to Disabled Voters
Suit is Latest in Growing Line of Similar Actions Being Taken Around the Country, SoS Brewer Continues to Duck Public Discussion of Issue or Support the Troops
By Brad Friedman on 5/10/2006, 3:26pm PT  

John Gideon contributed to this report.

A group of Arizona voters have filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction against Sec. of State Jan Brewer to halt the purchase of electronic touch-screen voting systems in the state made by both Diebold, Inc. and Sequoia Voting Systems.

The voters announced today that the motion was being filed in time to stop the use of the Diebold TSx and Sequoia Edge II systems in the state's upcoming 2006 elections, due to security, verifiability, and disability access problems with these systems.

In addition to the litany of security issues concerning Diebold's TSx, details from the most severe one to date were just revealed publicly last Friday with more chilling details filed in the Oakland Tribune by Ian Hoffman today, the suit also contends the machines, being purchased and implemented in many Arizona counties for the first time this year, are accessible only for a small number of voters with disabilities.

Indeed, on Monday, Diebold issued a press release about new disabled-accessible features that the company is now making available for their line of touch-screen voting machines. The press release can be seen as a tacit agreement, of sorts, that those systems had not been previously accessible to all disabled voters as required by the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA)?

In a press release issued this morning by VoterAction.org, a non-partisan legal advocacy group who has previously helped file similar suits in both New Mexico (against Sequoia machines) and California (against Diebold machines). The action in New Mexico eventually led to a new law banning Sequoia's touch-screen systems in the state, and so far, 7 of the 18 counties named in the California suit have announced they will abandon Diebold's touch-screens and use paper ballots instead this year.

One of the disabled plaintiff's in the suit is quoted in today's press release discussing the problem with disabled-accessibility of the Diebold and Sequoia systems:

"Diebold and Sequoia electronic voting systems do not adequately accommodate the needs of voters with a range of mobility, dexterity and multiple disabilities, such as my own. All voters have the right to a meaningful balloting experience, but no one should have to sacrifice security in the process. Electronic systems are neither secure nor verifiable, and our democratic process is too precious to jeopardize in this way."

A telephonic press conference was held this morning. The attorneys, plaintiffs and expert witnesses were all on the call to answer questions from the media. The entirety of the media in attendance was David Wagner from the Arizona Republic and John Gideon representing The BRAD BLOG. Apparently the integrity of our electoral system is not of great importance to most of the mainstream corporate media.

In response to questions about the security vulnerabilities of the Diebold and Sequoia Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, touch-screen) voting machines, computer science professor Doug Jones, of the University of Iowa, told both of the media representatives in attendance that the federal ITAs (Independent Testing Authorities) have been taken in by an amateurish veneer of security software because they do not understand software security. The ITA consists of three test labs that are supposed to inspect, test, and certify voting systems as being accurate and secure. However, they are paid for by the electronic voting machine vendors themselves, and essentially only look at what the vendors ask them. And little more. Their failure to adequately test these machines for security issues and for compliance with federal Voting System Standards has been devastating around the country.

When asked if Arizona can meet the HAVA mandates for disabled-accessibility in this year's Arizona primary and general election, Lowell Finley of VoterAction reported that the counties affected (13 of 15 counties) can use accessible AutoMark voting machines or other voting devices that allow voters to mark paper ballots. But that the machines in question, from Diebold and Sequoia, do not fit that bill.

In an AP article about today's lawsuit, without any information from the tele-conference, AZ Secretary of State Jan Brewer is quoted as saying, "I cannot understand for the life of me why they would want to prohibit the disabled from voting privately and independently like you and I. Every piece of equipment that we have has a paper trail."

Of course Brewer is seemingly missing the point. And apparently purposely hoping to spin the lawsuit into something that it clearly is not. She also proves that she is very confused because accessibility for voters with disabilities has little to do with a paper trail.

This is not the first time that Brewer, and the top Election Officials in her office have been "confused" about the facts of the very voting systems they are now forcing on the citizens of Arizona. See this previous story in which Brewer and the AZ state Election Director Joe Kanefield, refused to speak with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman in a live radio interview, and otherwise offered a host of complete misinformation to AZ voters on a number of issues, live and on the air.

Friedman has since challenged Brewer to a public debate on the topic to benefit Homes for our Troops, a charity who constructs homes for the most severely disabled Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans. Brewer has yet to reply to Friedman's offer.

We cannot understand for the life of us why she would want to hurt the most severely disabled of our American troops by refusing to help raise thousands of dollars for them.