Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Legal Challenges to Election Conditions From Coast to Coast

The Contra Costa Times reported Tuesday that CA Secretary of State Bruce McPherson was named as a defendant in yet another lawsuit. The suit was filed by the Paralyzed Veterans of America, the California Council of the Blind and the American Association of People with Disabilities. Also named as defendants are the counties of Alameda, San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma and Yolo. The case is based on the failures to comply with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).

Also Tuesday, a Federal judge in Seattle ruled that voter registrations must not be contingent upon registration forms matching perfectly with DMV records. In an e-mail newsletter, CA State Senator and Secretary of State Candidate Debra Bowen explained the importance of this ruling and its relevance to California:

The case is relevant in California because the California Secretary of State adopted regulations to implement an agreement with the Bush Administration's Justice Department in 2005 that are very similar to the Washington state law the court put on hold yesterday afternoon. It's not known how many Californians may have been prevented from registering or re-registering to vote prior to the June primary or how many are still experiencing problems as they attempt to register in time for the November election.

"That ruling tells me there's a very good chance the regulations the Secretary of State adopted to implement his agreement with the Bush Administration violate federal law and the state Constitution because of the barriers they put up to prevent eligible Californians from registering to vote," said California State Senator Debra Bowen, the chairwoman of the Senate Elections, Reapportionment & Constitutional Amendments Committee and the Senate Select Committee on the Integrity of Elections.
In her role on the Senate Select Committee, on Monday Bowen was also part of a hearing about problems with the June primary election in Kern County. Blogger Dusty has a first person account of the "priceless" exchanges between the Senators and a hapless Diebold representative. Also, with the Kern Registrar supposedly on vacation, the Deputy Registrar was put forward as a sacrificial scapegoat, unable to answer some or many of the Senators' questions.

Meanwhile, in Florida, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is making good on the strong words he recently wrote for Rolling Stone. Together with attorney Mike Papantonio, the two have filed a qui tam suit, a whistleblower action alleging the government has been defrauded. Computerworld reported on Wednesday:
August 02, 2006 (Computerworld) -- A federal whistleblower lawsuit has been filed against the e-voting industry, alleging that one company sold electronic voting devices that did not to perform as promised.

But details about the suit are sketchy because of secrecy rules surrounding whistleblower litigation, according to Matt Schultz, an attorney at Levin, Papantonio Thomas Mitchell Echsner & Proctor PA, the Pensacola, Fla., law firm that is handling the case. Schultz was assigned to the suit, but the lead attorneys are Mike Papantonio and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

[snip]

The lawsuit was filed approximately four weeks ago, but Schultz was unable to divulge in which federal district the filing took place. Nor could he discuss which e-voting machine vendor is targeted because the document is currently under seal.

According to Schultz, insiders at one of the four major e-voting vendors in the U.S. have testified to misrepresentations by the unnamed company about the accuracy, reliability and security of the direct recording electronic (DRE) devices. DRE usually signifies a touch-screen voting system.
BradBlog recently published a lengthy in-depth interview with RFK, following that on Wednesday with a conversation with Papantonio.

Watch the We Do Not Consent Blog for continued coverage of these cases, as well as the Bilbray/Busby contested election in San Diego.

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