September 28, 2007 | By Rebecca Jeschke

Judge Voids Election Because of E-Voting Snafus

Good news from California's Alameda County -- a judge has voided election results after the county botched its response to a contested race conducted on Diebold electronic voting machines. The judge ordered that the disputed Measure R -- an initiative addressing the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries -- go back on next year's ballot.

Measure R lost by fewer than 200 votes in the 2004 election, and Americans for Safe Access and voters in the city of Berkeley brought a legal challenge seeking a recount. But while the lawsuit was ongoing, election officials returned the voting machines to supplier Diebold Election Systems, and 96% of the detailed audit information from the election was destroyed. EFF helped analyze the remaining data, but as the judge recognized, it was impossible to tell if the tallies reported on election night were correct.

This decision was expected, but it's heartening that Superior Court Judge Winifred Smith saw the ramifications of the county's behavior and ordered the appropriate remedy. If there is no way to examine data, audit logs, and chain-of-custody records, there is no way to do an accurate recount. This is only the second time in Californian history that a court has ordered than an election be rerun. The message is clear: using electronic voting machines and keeping sloppy records is not an acceptable way to run an election.

The news is good in California, but serious reforms are needed nationwide, including a voter-verified paper trail and mandatory random audits. Contact your representative today and voice your support for H.R. 811, the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007.


Deeplinks Topics

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

Jail email service @JPay_com's ToS says it owns intellectual property rights over inmate-family correspondence https://eff.org/r.stln

May 5 @ 6:11pm

The Senate has unveiled the PATENT Act—an anti-troll bill. Here's what we like and what we want to see improved: https://eff.org/r.1tdw

May 5 @ 1:10pm

With "automated speech recognition, the NSA has entered the era of bulk listening," reports @the_intercept. https://eff.org/r.1o6b

May 5 @ 12:05pm
JavaScript license information