Disabled-Accessible Paper Ballot Device Torpedoed as State Changes Testing Procedures, Refuses to Certify System
Company Files Suit with California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board
By John Gideon on 10/18/2006, 9:32am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

In August Vote-PAD learned that the California Secretary of State had decided to deny them certification that would allow Vote-PAD's voting assistive devices to be used in the state of California. They did this even though some counties had already contracted for Vote-PAD or were in the purchase process and even though Vote-PAD showed clear and convincing evidence that the testing process was biased. This denial by Bruce McPherson and his underlings led to the now famous "Off With Their Heads" blog here at The BRAD BLOG.

On Monday Vote-PAD issued a press release to inform the public that they had filed a formal complaint with the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board. According to the press release, Vote-PAD "asserts that the Secretary of State violated a number of State and Federal protections during the Vote-PAD certification process: 'a violation of the due process and equal protection clauses of the Constitutions of both the United States and the State of California, a breach of contract, a violation of the California Administrative Procedures Act, a violation of the Election Code provisions governing voting system certification and an abuse of discretion in the Secretary's authority to certify voting systems.'"

The full press release follows...

Vote-PAD Inc. Files Legal Claim Against California Secretary of State

10/16/2006 9:56:00 AM

To: State and City Desks

Contact: Ellen Theisen of Vote-PAD Inc., 360-437-9922 or ellen@vote-pad.us

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 16 /U.S. Newswire/ --- Vote-PAD Inc. today filed a formal claim with the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board Asserting that the Secretary of State violated a number of State and Federal protections during the Vote-PAD certification process: "a violation of the due process and equal protection clauses of the Constitutions of both the United States and the State of California, a breach of contract, a violation of the California Administrative Procedures Act, a violation of the Election Code provisions governing voting system certification and an abuse of discretion in the Secretary's authority to certify voting systems."

The Vote-PAD, recently used in the Wisconsin primary election, is a non-computerized device designed to help people with disabilities hand mark a paper ballot. Six California counties were hoping to use the Vote-PAD this November, but on Aug. 25, Secretary of State Bruce McPherson refused to certify it for use in California.

Ellen Theisen, President of Vote-PAD Inc., said, "With no guidelines or regulations to follow, the Secretary's staff just made everything up as they went along --- the joint application process with the counties, the test plan, the method of evaluation and even the criteria they used to recommend denial. What they came up with was unprecedented and contrary not only to usability testing principles but to common sense as well."

"Furthermore," Theisen added, "their ad hoc plan was administered by people unqualified to conduct usability testing, their record-keeping was haphazard, and their analysis of the data shows a lack of due diligence."

The claimant is seeking one of three remedies:

1 --- A valid certification test of the Vote-PAD conducted as soon as possible at the State's expense, or

2 --- Prompt certification of the Vote-PAD, based on a valid evaluation of the data collected in the test conducted during the summer; also at the sole expense of the State, or

3 --- If the State rejects the other remedies, compensation in the amount of $33,277.65 to Vote-PAD Inc., for expenses associated with the certification testing process.

"The actual cost of the Secretary of State's invalid testing of Vote-PAD is incalculable," Theisen said. "If the denial of certification is allowed to stand, it denies California counties and their disabled citizens a verifiable, auditable, cost- effective way to cast their ballots."

"We believe the State also owes compensation to the counties that requested the certification of the Vote-PAD and were eager to use it in November, since the boondoggle has forced them to settle for expensive and unreliable electronic equipment instead. But that's not part of the claim we filed."

Read the details supporting the claim here:
http://www.vote-pad.us/CA-BOEClaimAttachment.asp

http://www.usnewswire.com/