Lawsuit over electronic voting threatened

From: Arthur Keller <voting_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Wed May 31 2006 - 12:50:05 CDT

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denver & the west | election 2006

Lawsuit over electronic voting threatened

By George Merritt
Denver Post Staff Writer

A local law firm announced Tuesday it is planning
a lawsuit to block nine counties and the state
from using electronic voting machines.

Counties across the state have spent the past
year scrambling to purchase new voting machines
in order to comply with state and federal laws.

The federal Help America Vote Act requires every
polling place to be accessible for people with

But lawyers with Wheeler Trigg Kennedy LLP said
the new machines are unreliable and violate the
state Constitution.

"Colorado and its counties are being rushed into
purchasing these risky systems for use in the
2006 elections in the mistaken belief that they
are required by the Help America Vote Act ...,"
the firm said in a release. "In addition to being
insecure and easily compromised by hacking, the
contested (machines) have a history of
operational problems that have disrupted
elections across the country."

The secretary of state's office as well as Adams,
Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Douglas,
Jefferson, La Plata, Larimer and Weld counties
will be defendants, on behalf of "a diverse,
nonpartisan group of Colorado voters," according
to the release.

A spokeswoman for the firm said the group wanted
to wait until the suit is filed on Thursday to
discuss specifics.

County clerks and recorders and the secretary of
state have been working to certify and order
electronic machines to avoid lawsuits from the
federal government. Three companies - Diebold
Election Systems, Sequoia Voting Systems and Hart
InterCivic - were certified.

In March, the Department of Justice sued the
state of New York for failing to comply with HAVA.

The secretary of state's spokeswoman, Dana
Williams, said she could not comment on a suit
that has not been filed. But Adams County Clerk
and Recorder Carol Snyder said clerks are trapped
in the middle of threatened lawsuits.

"I think it is very, very clear," Snyder said. "I
think what we have to do is just proceed with
what we know our obligations are under state and
federal law."

Wheeler Trigg Kennedy attorney Paul Hultin sent
letters to several county clerks in the past few
weeks warning them of the possible suit.

Attorney General John Suthers' office sent a
letter dated Sunday to Hultin, telling him that
the state could not respond to the "vague claims"
of Hultin's "unnamed clients."

"While it is clear from your letter that your
clients have concerns ... until we have some idea
of the specific nature of these concerns, we
cannot begin to respond to them," Assistant
Attorney General Monica Márquez wrote.

Staff writer George Merritt can be reached at
303-820-1657 or

Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424

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