EFF Supports Disabled Voters in Fight Against Paperless E-voting
July 15 Hearing Set in Florida
Orlando, FL - On Thursday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Florida attorney Jeff Liggio filed an emergency amicus brief on behalf of Volusia County disabled residents who oppose the purchase of paperless touchscreen voting machines. The brief, supporting Volusia County Council members who are seeking to purchase an alternate voting system that better addresses accessibility issues and also produces a voter-verified paper ballot, was submitted in opposition to a lawsuit filed July 5th by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB).
The NFB suit seeks to force the County to spend approximately $700,000 of state funds on Diebold voting equipment that the County has repeatedly rejected as inferior to the accessible, paper-producing AutoMARK system offered by ES&S.
A hearing in federal District Court that may decide the issue is set for 1:30 pm in Orlando. Handicapped Adults of Volusia County (HAVOC) president David Dixon will be in attendance and will be available afterwards for comment. He can be reached at (386) 871-0852.
"Accessibility and auditability should not be conflicting values when it comes to voting equipment," said Dixon. "National advocates for the blind do the disabled community of Volusia County a disservice when they presume to speak on our behalf for flawed systems that we do not want. With their support, we could have worked together to promote technology that better assists disabled voters at the same time that it ensured that security and auditability concerns were met. For our part, we will continue to support officials in their efforts to find voting equipment that best protects all voters in the County."
County Council members say that the County has adequate time to consider other technology options before the October election. ES&S continues to work towards Florida state certification for its AutoMARK machines and has offered to rent certified paperless touchscreen machines to the County as a temporary solution in the event that AutoMARK certification isn't achieved in time.
"The Volusia County Council should be applauded for seeking a voting solution that benefits every voter," said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "The County has made it clear that it is diligently exploring every option in order to find the best result available under the law. Hopefully, the Court will permit the County to do its job."
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