"E-Vote: Judge Strikes Down Union County, Ohio, Voting Machine Directive Challenge, " Gov-tech, Ed's occasional clipping service

From: Edmund R. Kennedy <ekennedyx_at_yahoo_dot_com>
Date: Wed Feb 27 2008 - 10:16:30 CST

E-Vote: Judge Strikes Down Union County, Ohio, Voting Machine
Directive Challenge
Feb 26, 2008, News Report

Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Eric Brown, in a 25-page decision,
struck down a county's challenge to Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner's
Jan. 2, 2008 directive requiring backup paper ballots by boards of elections
using touch-screen (direct recording electronic-DRE) voting machines in the
March 4 presidential primary election.

The case was brought by Union
County commissioners who sought to challenge the secretary's authority to issue
the directive, arguing that it unlawfully mandated two types of voting systems.

Calling the secretary's directive one that "merely directs how Union
County's existing voting equipment will be used," the judge found that the
county commissioners lacked standing to attack the secretary's directive and
that the failure of the county board of elections to be a party deprived the
court of the ability to proceed on the merits.

The directive requires
boards of elections using touch-screen voting machines to provide a 10 percent
minimum threshold per precinct of paper ballots as an option to those voters who
may request a paper ballot.

In his ruling, Judge Brown clarified the
role of county commissions in elections, stating that, despite budgetary
control, a board of commissioners has no right to control how elections are
conducted or to challenge election decisions made by the secretary of state or
local boards of elections.

Judge Brown found that Union County's $86,000
estimate for complying with the secretary's directive was substantially higher
than other counties, including those that greatly exceed the size of Union
County.

The judge also denounced the attempt of the Union County
commissioners to compare the county's situation to legal challenges elsewhere.
Citing the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against the Cuyahoga County
Board of Elections, decided against the ACLU last month, Judge Brown called the
threat of similar litigation against Union County "speculative" and noted that
Cuyahoga County is not using a touch screen system and is not subject to the
directive.

"I am pleased with Judge Brown's decision today," said
Brunner.

"There is much work to be done in preparing for the March
presidential primary election. My office has been working diligently to assist
boards of elections in preparing for an efficient, fair and accurate election on
March 4. For boards across the state this issue is resolved and Union County can
move ahead as other counties have done without question," Brunner
said.

 

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Received on Fri Feb 29 23:17:08 2008

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