By John Gideon on 2/11/2006, 5:52pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, of VotersUnite and VoteTrustUSA

The "DVN Top 5" is a feature in the weekly voting newsletter of VoteTrustUSA. The February 07 edition can be found here. The selection of what will be the "Top 5" for each week and where it goes on the list is all mine. The fact that you may disagree with my choices is great because it shows that you have been reading the DVN articles that I've posted throughout the week here on The BRAD BLOG!...

#5 The Chicago Tribune reported that Chicago and suburban Cook County have a deal worked out with the city of Las Vegas, Nevada. In this deal Chicago-Cook Co. will use presently federally qualified and state certified Sequoia DREs and optical-scan machines in the March primary. 4,000 machines will then be shipped to Las Vegas where they will be used in the future. Chicago-Cook Co. will then take possession of brand new, not yet federally qualified or state certified Sequoia DREs. These new DREs are different in size and features from their predecessors. Thus, Chicago and suburban Cook Co., Illinois will be 'beta testing' this new voting system in a real election with real voters casting real votes.

#4 The city of Carlisle, Ohio had to hold a re-vote for an EMS levy; the second vote on this issue in three months. The reason? The cities only Montgomery County precinct reported more votes cast than there were voters registered in that precinct. As reported by the Middletown Journal, this single precinct is the only precinct in the city that uses DREs (Diebold TSx) while the Warren County precincts all use optical-scan. As tends to be normal the Montgomery County elections officials blamed the problem on poll workers, ignoring the fact that if they had used optical-scan machines they could have done a simple hand recount of the ballots and the vote would have been completed three months ago.

#3 - USA Today and the Associated Press both had reports with information from and Election Data Services. Both articles refer to 2006 as being "the year of the glitch" due to the roll out of new voting technology. Unfortunately neither news organization or neither of the organizations featured in the articles addressed the fact that many, if not most, of the glitches would be from voting systems that are being 'beta tested' in real elections with real votes. Instead, both articles point the fingers at the voters and poll workers who will be blamed for the mistakes. DREs are completely trouble-free. It is the voters and poll workers who are flawed and error prone.

#2 Diebold seems to be in perpetual trouble. Scott & Scott LLC will file a Motion for Lead Plaintiff and Lead Counsel on February 13, 2006. The action is pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. The Class is defined in the complaint drafted by Scott+Scott as those who purchased Diebold securities between October 22, 2003, and September 21, 2005, inclusive.
Meanwhile, both VoteTrustUSA and BRAD BLOG have reported on the news reports regarding statements by Diebold CEO Thomas Swidarski that he may be willing to divest the company of their elections unit. To be sure class-action lawsuits and questions about their software and hackability of their machines will help in any decision made by the company.

#1 'Legislation and the Courts' has to be the big story for the week. A New Jersey Appeals Court has reinstated a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of electronic voting machines. This is huge news because this lawsuit can help in other states. In fact, the court opinion was used within a day later in a settlement conference in Washington.
Also in news from the courts the National Federation of the Blind lawsuit against Volusia Co., Florida was dismissed by the courts. And in Ohio the Cobb-Badnarik lawsuit over the recount of the Nov. 2004 federal election was dismissed by a state court.
In the legislature many states have bills going through the legislative process. Notable this week is a real paper ballot bill in New Mexico that has garnered Senate committee approval as well as backing from the Governor and the Secretary of State. And in Maryland SB-713 was introduced with 22 cosponsors and bi-partisan support. This bill is a companion to the House bill, HB-244, which has near unanimous support. Both of these bills will require all voting systems used in the state to produce or require the use of a voter verified paper record. The bill also calls for hand counted audits of a percentage of the votes by each election board in the state.