Spoilt Ballot-Paper | 22.03.2006 10:49 | Repression
Tuesday 21 March 2006
San Francisco - Some California voters and activist groups sued the state's top election official on Tuesday in an effort to reverse the certification of certain electronic voting machines made by Diebold Inc.
The suit, filed in Superior Court in San Francisco, is the latest salvo in an ongoing dispute about the security of Diebold electronic voting machines, focused on Diebold's TSX touch-screen system.
A month ago, Secretary of State Bruce McPherson certified Diebold Election System's TSX and Optical Scan products for use in this year's elections after a review of their security. An earlier, slightly modified version of the TSX was used in California's November 2005 special election.
"In certifying the Diebold machines, the secretary has sidestepped his duty to deny certification to voting systems that violate state and federal standards," Dolores Huerta, a co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America and plaintiff in the case, said in a statement. "Diebold systems have failed in security tests and in communities around the country."
The lawsuit seeks to block the purchase of the TSX systems and a reversal of the secretary of state's certification.
Jennifer Kerns, a spokeswoman for McPherson, said her office had not seen the lawsuit, but she said the Diebold systems were safe and reliable.
"The Diebold systems that we have certified have passed the most stringent requirements really in the nation," she said. "In fact we've actually been criticized about how stringent our process has been."
Diebold came under file in California after the state's March 2004 primary election for glitches at polling places attributed to its voting systems. Some activists have questioned their vulnerability to hacking and manipulation.
In 2004, Diebold paid $2.6 million to settle a lawsuit alleging it had provided false information about security and certification to obtain payments for its electronic voting equipment in California.
Election officials say 21 of California's 58 counties have used Diebold electronic voting systems for recent voting, and at least seven counties are slated to use the new TSX system this year.