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California Ruling Makes Accurate Recount on E-voting Machines Impossible

October 4, 2004

California Ruling Makes Accurate Recount on E-voting Machines Impossible

Riverside, California - A superior court in a Riverside County, California ruled last week that the local registrar of voters does not have to hand over backup data from e-voting machines to verify the results of a recount.

Linda Soubirous, a Republican board of supervisors candidate, requested the data after she was granted the right to a recount in a close race which she lost. The county registrar refused to give her access to a wide range of audit and backup data from from the Sequoia touchscreen e-voting machines used in the election. Soubirous challenged the registrar in court, arguing that without this data the recount simply amounted to a reprint of the same potentially erroneous information. Judge James S. Hawkins ruled the county was able to decide for itself what data was relevant for recount purposes.

"It was an unfortunate decision," said Electronic Frontier Foundation staff attorney Matt Zimmerman. "It means that the public isn't allowed to see even the most limited amount of voting machine data that would be useful for monitoring election integrity. The track record on many of these machines is bad enough. But now local election officials can demand that voters trust them and their voting machine vendors without offering any proof that this trust is warranted."

Soubirous' lawyers, the firm of Strumwasser & Woocher, plan to appeal.

Contact:

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

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