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California Judge Tentatively 'Nullifies' Election Result

July 12, 2007

California Judge Tentatively 'Nullifies' Election Result

Friday Hearing to Finalize Sanctions, Revote in Contested Election

Oakland, Calif. - On Friday, July 13, at 9:30 a.m., a California judge will rule on sanctions against Alameda County for botching its response to a contested race conducted on Diebold electronic voting machines. In a tentative ruling issued Thursday, Judge Winifred Y. Smith said that the election results in the race were "nullified" and ordered a revote.

Americans for Safe Access and voters in the city of Berkeley brought a legal challenge seeking a recount after Measure R, an initiative addressing the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries, lost by fewer than 200 votes in the 2004 election. While the lawsuit was ongoing, election officials returned the voting machines to supplier Diebold Election Systems, and 96% of the election data was destroyed. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) helped analyze the remaining data, but too many questions remained.

"Without examining the redundant data, audit logs, and chain-of-custody records, no one can confirm whether any of the reported malfunctions were ever resolved or whether vote data was manipulated or lost," said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "As a result, no one can ever confirm whether the vote result announced by the county was correct."

Smith's tentative ruling orders the county to place Measure R on the ballot in the next general election, as well as to pay the costs for the incomplete recount. That ruling is likely to be finalized after Friday's hearing.

What:
Americans for Safe Access vs. County of Alameda

When:
9:30 a.m.
Friday, July 13, 2007

Where:
Wiley Manuel Courthouse
Department 114
661 Washington Street
Oakland, CA

Contacts:

Matt Zimmerman
Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
mattz@eff.org

Gregory G. Luke
Attorney
Strumwasser & Woocher LLP
gluke@strumwooch.com

Rebecca Saltzman
Chief of Staff
Americans for Safe Access
rebecca@safeaccessnow.org

Caleb Dardick
CDA Strategies
caleb@cdastrategies.com

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