Election Law @ Moritz

Information and Analysis

Voting Machine Issues Nationwide

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Below is a state-by-state breakdown of all litigation and administrative and legal actions related to voting machines that are currently being tracked by EL@M.  Check this page for further updates.

State Administrative and Legislative Action Related Cases Issue Litigation Status
Ohio SoS commissioned voting systems review (report) and broke a tie vote in Cuyahoga, the state's largest county, to force it to adopt paper ballots in time for Ohio's March 4 primary.  SoS wants all counties to adopt paper ballots in time for the November general election, although they can continue using their present technology for the time being as the SoS has not actually decertified DRE voting machines at this point. ACLU of Ohio v. Brunner Whether the Ohio Secretary of State can force Cuyahoga County to switch from touch-screen voting machines to paper ballots for the March 4 primary election. Complaint filed 1/17/08. Motion for Preliminary Injuction filed 1/28/08. Hearing set for 2/5/08.
Callen v. Blackwell
Whether Ohio's use of Diebold and ES&S voting machines violate state law requirements for reliability, security, accuracy, verifiability, and accessibility. Continuance granted until 1/10/08. Pre-trial hearing scheduled for 3/19/08.
California SoS commissioned a comprehensive review of voting systems (report) and subsequently de-certified most of them (report).  However, the SoS is currently allowing officials to use these systems provided they meet extra security requirements.  DRE systems may not be used except for disability access and with a 100% manual count of ballots cast. In addition, it was discovered that some counties, including San Francisco, were using voting equipment that had never been certified in the first place.  Merced voting machines noncertified, Modesto Bee, September 3, 2007.  Some jurisdictions that had been relying primarily on DRE or other types of decertified or uncertified machines, including the jurisdictions that contain San Jose, San Francisco, and San Diego, have had to largely abandon their DRE technology in favor of paper ballots. Back to paper ballots, San Jose Mercury News, August 5, 2007; Vote news already in:  Tally will take time, San Diego Union-Tribune, September 16, 2007; Bowen sues voting machine maker, Contra Costa Times, November 20, 2007. San Diego County v. Bowen Whether California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has the authority to require expanded election auditing procedures for counties using certain kinds of electronic voting machines. Appellate court sided with Secretary of State on February 1, 2008.
Colorado SoS de-certified certain voting machines and optical scanners that were in use by 53 counties in the state, including the state's four largest counties (Denver, Arapahoe, Jefferson, and Boulder), due to concerns about lack of paper trails and risks of sabatoge. Dozens of appeals have been filed with the SoS by vendors and counties protesting the de-certification. SoS has indicated that he has identified possible fixes and that many of the machines could be re-certified if the process was made easier. House Bill 1155, introduced on 1/16/08, would simplify the re-certification process without lowering the requirements. Governor has expressed support for plan to use traditional paper ballots for the 2008 elections. No cases.   No litigation pending.
Florida In May of 2007, the legislature passed a law requiring paper ballots in all jurisdictions.  After Primary, Hillsborough Ditching Touch - Screens, Tampa Tribune, January 28, 2008.  However, jurisdictions with DRE technology currently in place will continue using that technology through the state's January 29 Presidential primary. No cases.   No litigation pending.
Pennsylvania

Secretary of the Commonwealth suspended Advance Voting Solution machines in August 2007.  Northhampton, Lackawanna and Wayne Counties each used these voting machines.  Northhampton County is considering the purchase of new voting machines with money received from the state.  The plaintiffs in Banfield are attempting to prevent Northhampton and other counties from purchasing certain machines.

Counties in Pennsylvania will be using a variety of voting machines in this year's elections.

Banfield v. Cortes Whether the Pennsylvania Secretary of State properly certified electronic voting equipment used throughout the state. Motion to Dissolve Stay and Motion for Preliminary Injunction filed with the Commonwealth Court on 1/25/08. Hearing set for 2/7/08.
New York State election commission certified for use three types of paper ballot machines on January 25, 2008.  Voters to leave a paper trail, Albany Times Union, January 25, 2008.  These machines are for disability access only, but some think that local officials will ultimately decide to go with the same type of technology for general use.  No DRE machines were approved.  Previously, no HAVA-compliant machines had been approved for use in the state. United States of America v. New York Board of Elections Whether the State of New York has met its obligations under the national Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which requires, among other things, up-to-date and accessible voting machines. Motion hearing held on 12/20/07. Supplemental Remedial Order issued 1/16/08.
New Jersey State passed legislation to extend the date for implementing VVPATs on DRE machines from January to June 3, 2008.  AG rejects request for use of emergency ballots, Newark Star-Ledger, January 16, 2008.  The state attorney general refused to give February 5 voters the choice of casting paper ballots upon request. Gusciora v. Codey (no case page) Whether New Jersey's voting machines and the regulatory structure behind them are so faulty that it violates the state constitution and other legal requirements. Judge approved use of machines for February 5.  Judge extends deadline to bolster voting machines in N.J., AP Alert - Political, September 18, 2007.  Further hearings are reportedly scheduled in January on constitutional issues.