[internetworkers] EFF sues North Carolina over voting machines

Shea Tisdale shea at sheatisdale.com
Mon Dec 12 15:18:45 EST 2005


On behalf of voter rights advocate Joyce McCloy, the EFF has filed a
complaint against several government agencies in North Carolina, requesting
that the Superior Court nullify the certification of proprietary electronic
voting systems that failed to meet the state's selection critera. 

North Carolina established strict new voting machine requirements after
system failure led to the loss of 4,000 votes in an election last year. The
Public Confidence in Elections bill requires that all voting machine
manufacturers disclose their proprietary source code for review by
government technology experts. When Diebold was given an exemption last
month, the EFF took the matter to court, where Diebold lost. The government
of North Carolina proceeded to certify Diebold anyway, despite revocation of
the exemption. Certification of technology that fails to meet the legal
requirements established by the Public Confidence in Elections bill is
essentially illegal, and the EFF wants the government to be held accountable
for their disregard of a critical law. In the press release, the EFF
condemns the government's decision: 

"This is about the rule of law," said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman.
"The Board of Elections has simply ignored its mandatory obligations under
North Carolina election law. This statute was enacted to require election
officials to investigate the quality and security of voting systems before
approval, and only approve those that are safe and secure. By certifying
without a full review of all relevant code, the Board of Elections has now
opened the door for North Carolina counties to purchase untested and
potentially insecure voting equipment." 

Regardless of the legal implications, Diebold has an extremely poor
reputation. The state of California banned Diebold voting machines and then
sued the company for fraud after dicsovering uncertified software on the
Diebold voting systems. The ethics of Diebold's CEO have also been called
into question following the public discovery of a statement in which he said
he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the
president." Is it right for the state of North Carolina to certify
technology produced by a partisan company with morally dubious tactics when
that certification clearly violates state law? One can only wonder what is
going on in North Carolina.

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