By John Gideon on 8/15/2006, 6:04pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Tonight Lou and Kitty Pilgrim report on the litigation that is taking place around the country in order to stop the use of paperless voting machines.

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The text-transcript of tonight's segment on Lou Dobbs Tonight follows in full...

DOBBS: Well, those midterm elections now less than three months away, but across the country problems with e-voting machines could mean your vote won't be counted. Tonight, intensifying concern about what this is doing to the prospects for an effective and accurate nationwide election.

Kitty Pilgrim reports.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sixty percent of the votes in the 2004 presidential election were cast or tallied by electronic voting machines. And that may hit 80 percent by this November's elections. Twenty-eight states with more than half the U.S. population have legislation or rules for a mandatory paper record of the vote, but 22 states are holding out.

Now activists are banding together and suing.

LOWELL FINLEY, VOTER ACTION: Sometimes litigation is the only way to get the attention of the officials. And in the end, sometimes the only way that the change can be brought about, by asking a judge to order it.

PILGRIM: Today, voter activists filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania against the secretary of state and county election officials alleging current electronic voting machines violate state election codes and the state constitution.

There is a groundswell of e-voting litigation with cases in California, Arizona, Colorado Maryland, New Jersey and Georgia. In New Mexico, a successful court case forced the entire state to use optically-scanned paper ballots. In Georgia, plaintiffs representing the state's nine million voters have filed a lawsuit.

GARLAND FAVORITO, VOTERGA.ORG: We have a group of approximately eight plaintiffs that span the complete political spectrum. And we all agree on one thing: we have to be able to hold legitimate elections before we can even discuss political issues. So we've decided to put all our political issues or differences aside, and let's focus on one thing. Let's restore the integrity of Georgia elections.

PILGRIM: In Georgia, activists say they did not push for this November's midterm election. They would rather not rush a judge and have the issue examined in depth before the next presidential election.


PILGRIM: Now, some cases challenge the reliability of the electronic voting machines, saying they can be hacked or tampered with. Other cases focus on the state constitution and the obligation to provide a permanent record of the election.

The goal is the same, to make sure that a permanent record exists of any election held in the United States --- Lou.

DOBBS: What a good idea.

PILGRIM: It seems pretty simple.

DOBBS: It's straightforward. You know, I cannot believe that there would be anyone who would suggest there shouldn't be a paper record of these votes, irrespective of the machine or the type of equipment used.

PILGRIM: Well, it's come to the point that they actually have to sue to get it. They can't get legislation to do it.

Kitty, thank you very much, as we continue your excellent series of reports on our democracy at risk. Taking a look now at your thoughts.