Public Comment Welcome at Feb. 28 Meeting About E-voting Machines

Texas - The ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently won a preliminary injunction in their lawsuit against the state of Texas concerning whether the Texas Open Meetings Act applies to voting technology certification meetings of the state's election examiners. As part of this victory, Texas will hold its first-ever public meeting discussing proposed voting systems. Any vendor who wants to sell a system in Texas, or even ship an upgrade to its existing software, is required to go through the Texas certification process.

The public meeting will be held on Monday morning, February 28, from 8:30 a.m. until noon, in the 2nd floor conference room of the Rusk Building (208 E. 10th St., Austin). Products from three vendors will be discussed: Diebold, ES&ampS, and AccuPoll. The proposed AccuPoll system includes a ballot printer. If certified, it would be the first "voter-verifiable paper ballot" electronic voting system available in Texas.

Following each vendor's presentation there will be a public comment period. Members of the public may speak for five minutes, including asking questions of the vendors or examiners. The meeting will focus on how the examiners determine whether or not any vendor's product meets state requirements.

"We're hoping that this meeting will open the door to more public access to the voting systems selection process in Texas, and will support reform efforts being made in the Texas legislature," said Dan Wallach, a professor of computer science at Rice University and expert in voting system security issues.

"Elections need to become more transparent across the board," added Matt Zimmerman, staff attorney for EFF. "Not only does election technology need to permit voters to verify their votes, the process for selecting that technology needs to be open to public scrutiny. While this is a small step forward, and much work remains to be done, it is nevertheless an important step for the voters of Texas."

Check here for more information about E-voting.


Matt Zimmerman
Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation

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