Arizona Voters File for Preliminary Injunction to Halt Purchase of Voting Systems
A group of Arizona voters, including Judith Leiken, Sonja Elison, PhD, and Dr. Alejandro Chavez recently filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction against AZ Secretary of State Jan Brewer to halt the purchase and use of Diebold TSx and Sequoia Edge II touch-screen electronic voting systems in time for the 2006 elections, due to security, verifiability, and disability access problems with these systems. To view the complaint, visit www.VoterAction.org.
“Because of security and reliability concerns, the Pima County Board of Supervisors postponed its decision on the two million dollar purchase of the Diebold touch-screen system in the last week,” said Paul Eckstein, Co-counsel for the Plaintiffs and a partner at Perkins Coie Brown & Bain PA in Phoenix. “Earlier this year, New Mexico became an all-paper balloting state, and as of last week, eight California counties that had been considering Deibold electronic systems have pledged all-paper balloting in response to voters’ litigation. The Arizona voters we represent want to prevent the expenditure of millions of dollars on electronic voting systems that are neither trustworthy nor transparent, and that would affect election security well into the future in our state”.
“All voters, including those who cast a vote in Spanish or are disabled, have a right to cast their ballot and have it counted and recorded as intended – without the risk of fraud or manipulation,” said Charles Blanchard, Co-counsel for the Plaintiffs and a partner at Perkins Coie Brown & Bain PA. “There are less risky and verifiable alternatives to electronic voting that also accommodate Spanish speakers and those with a broad range of disabilities”.
“There is a crisis in voter confidence caused by problems inherent in electronic voting technology, and Arizonans are taking action, as are voters in California, Colorado, New York, Pennsylvania and several other states,” said Lowell Finley, Counsel for the Plaintiffs and Co-director of Voter Action. “Diebold and Sequoia touch-screen electronic voting systems have proven vulnerable to hacking and lost and switched votes — in expert testing and actual elections across the country. Sequoia has proven problematic with the recording of Spanish language ballots. These electronic voting systems are also are difficult if not impossible to audit. All-paper balloting is more reliable, transparent and secure, which is why it is being selected by prudent counties nationwide”
“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,” said Judy Leiken, a plaintiff in the lawsuit. “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”.
“The Secretary of State has relinquished her duty to ensure that voting systems are accessible and secure, and meet the requirements of State and Federal law,” said Tom Ryan, PhD, Plaintiff, computer software specialist, and Director of Arizona Citizens for Fair Elections. “It has been proven, that the Diebold voting system contains “interpreted” code, which can be readily hacked in multiple and undetectable ways, and for this reason, is illegal in Arizona.”
As part of their case, the plaintiffs will present the testimony of computer security experts, Dr. Douglas W. Jones of the University of Iowa, Dr. David Dill of Stanford University and Dr. Aviel D. Rubin of Johns Hopkins University, concerning the serious security problems inherent in the Diebold and Sequoia touch-screen voting systems. Mr. Noel Runyan, a disability-access technology expert will also provide testimony.
The lawsuit was filed with support from Voter Action, www.voteraction.org , a non-profit organization with members across the country, which provides legal, research, and logistical support for grassroots efforts to ensure the integrity of elections in the United States. Voter Action recently filed suit on behalf of voters in California, New York and New Mexico to block the purchase and use of the types of voting machines that are most error-prone and vulnerable to tampering, and which are being introduced in Arizona. Voter Action is also supporting similar litigation in Colorado. Voter Action is a project of the International Humanities Center, a 501 C non-profit organization.
“Voter Action believes it is important to support this lawsuit. Voters in neighboring New Mexico turned down electronic voting systems for security reasons, and similarly, Arizonans should not be willing to accept a system that will put their elections at such high risk,” said Holly Jacobson, Co-director of Voter Action. “Our elections are too important to turn over to private corporations operating with no accountability and to electronic voting systems with a history of errors and security problems. All-paper balloting is a better option as it is less expensive, works better and is verifiable.”