California Recount Case to Consider E-Voting Audit Trail

From: Joseph Lorenzo Hall <joehall_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Sat Jul 17 2004 - 10:13:36 CDT

http://www.verifiedvoting.org/media/releases/article.asp?id=2514

VerifiedVoting.org Media Release

For Immediate Release: Friday, July 16, 2004

Linda Soubirous
  Plaintiff and Former Candidate
  lsoubirous@aol.com

Will Doherty
  Executive Director
  VerifiedVoting.org
  press@verifiedvoting.org

Gregory Luke
  Strumwasser & Woocher LLP
  gluke@strumwooch.com

California Recount Case to Consider E-Voting Audit Trail

Riverside County Denies Candidate Access to E-Voting Machine Records

Riverside, CA - Former Riverside County Board of Supervisors candidate
Linda Soubirous, national election integrity organization
VerifiedVoting.org, and a bi-partisan pair of Riverside County voters
today sued Riverside County and its Registrar of Voters Mischelle
Townsend because the county refused to conduct a proper recount of a
March 2004 election with a razor-thin margin. The Soubirous lawsuit
could guarantee public access to security records stored inside
electronic voting machines in future recounts.

The case arises from a very close March 2004 race for the Riverside
County Board of Supervisors in which the declared winner avoided a
runoff by a mere 45 votes. California election law permits any voter
to request and review "all relevant election materials" pertaining to
a recount. Second-place candidate Linda Soubirous requested the
materials that the Registrar and machine vendor Sequoia Voting Systems
tout as the fundamental security features of the electronic voting
system -- namely the audit logs, the redundant memory stored in the
machines, the results of "logic and accuracy" tests, and the
chain-of-custody records for the system components. Despite the clear
mandate of California law, Registrar Townsend refused to grant Ms.
Soubirous access to any of this material, arguing that it was not
"relevant" to a recount.

"I was shocked when Riverside County election officials told me that
access to the internal memories of the voting machines was not
'relevant' to a recount," said plaintiff Linda Soubirous, who ran in
the nonpartisan election. "Of course the internal information is
relevant -- without it, there's no way to determine whether the votes
were recorded and counted properly inside the machine." Ms. Soubirous
has not sought to challenge the election results in this action, but
only to gain access to the election data from March and for future
recounts.

"VerifiedVoting.org joined the Soubirous e-voting recount case to make
available all relevant information about whether e-voting machines
have succeeded or failed in recording citizens' votes properly," said
Will Doherty, Executive Director of VerifiedVoting.org. "This landmark
case should improve election integrity and transparency by setting the
requirements for recounts on e-voting machines and supplementing the
voter-verified paper ballots already mandated by California Secretary
of State Shelley." The Electronic Frontier Foundation is also
supporting the case.

"In a recent federal case, Weber v. Shelley, the court of appeals
dismissed a challenge to these same Riverside County e-voting machines
in reliance on the assurances of Riverside County election officials
and system vendors, who boasted that the machines featured redundant
data paths to store ballot images and audit logs in triplicate," added
Gregory Luke, an attorney at Santa Monica's Strumwasser and Woocher,
which is handling the case. "Yet when this exact information was
sought by Ms. Soubirous during a recount in 2004, those same Riverside
officials refused to produce it. This case raises critical questions
about whether elections officials can effectively erase whole chapters
of the Election Code that guarantee all citizens the right to request
a meaningful recount."

For this release:
http://www.verifiedvoting.org/media/releases/article.asp?id=2514

Soubirous v. County of Riverside case documents (coming soon):
http://www.verifiedvoting.org/legal/california/soubirous-v-countyofriverside/

About VerifiedVoting.org:

VerifiedVoting.org is a nonprofit organization championing reliable
and publicly verifiable elections. Founded by Stanford University
Computer Science Professor David Dill, the organization supports a
requirement for voter-verified paper ballots on electronic voting
machines allowing voters to inspect individual permanent records of
their ballots and election officials to conduct meaningful recounts as
needed. The organization's website is at
http://www.verifiedvoting.org/

-- 
Joseph Lorenzo Hall
UC Berkeley, SIMS PhD Student
http://pobox.com/~joehall/
blog: http://pobox.com/~joehall/nqb2/
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Received on Sat Jul 31 23:17:05 2004

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