December 10, 2006 | By Derek Slater

E-Voting Whistleblower Deserves Medal, Gets Punished

The need for e-voting reform is now widely-recognized, as this Friday's front page story in the New York Times demonstrates. Along with many other people deserving credit for bringing this issue to the fore, you'd think that whistleblowers like Stephen Heller would be unanimously celebrated. Unfortunately, you'd be mistaken.

In 2004, Heller leaked documents showing that Diebold Election Systems used uncertified software in California elections even though it knew that doing so was likely illegal. The documents outraged voters and spurred instant media coverage for an issue that, at that time, was largely ignored. For defending Californians' fundamental right to vote, Heller deserves a medal from the state.

Instead, Heller has been facing criminal charges and threats by Diebold's lawyers to sue him for multimillion dollar damages. Last month, Heller accepted a plea agreement of three years probation and a $10,000 payment to lawyers at Jones Day.

This sad outcome could only be made worse if Heller's virtuous aims remain unfulfilled and votes continue to be cast on flawed machines. EFF is pushing for voting reform around the country, including in our recent lawsuit in Sarasota, Florida. You can support reform, too, by writing to your representatives through our Action Center.

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