From Paul Lehto's email announcement (4/8/05):
More below the fold...
"The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created."
WashBlog has been following local coverage: Everett Herald covers touchscreen e-voting lawsuit (4/8/05) and Seattle PI article mentions touchscreen lawsuit (4/9/05).
Please visit and link to Voters Unite. They're doing a great job tracking electronic voting issues nationally.
Also, I encourage you to listen to an interview with Paul Lehto and Randy Gordon on Mind Over Matters - Legal Challenge to Electronic Voting Machines in WA State.
I've read both the original study and the lawsuit. Well worth your time. (The study's preface has a great summary.) Of the many noteworthy items, these ones stuck with me:
- Snohomish County had both paper ballots and touch screen voting, permitting apples to apples comparisons. Lehto and Wells found that paper ballots correlated nicely with exit polling data whereas touch screen voting did not.
- As everyone knows, our 2004 Governor's race was very tight. In Snohomish County, which had 284,817 total votes, Gregoire led Rossi on the paper ballots with 50.47% of the vote. If the electronic voting had followed both the paper ballots and exit polling, Gregoire would have won Snohomish County by nearly 2,700 votes (142,753 to 141,064). However, on the computers, Rossi led Gregoire with 54.45% of the vote. That 5% swing gave Rossi Snohomish County by 6,439 votes (139,189 to 145,628). As Lehto argues, the possibility of such a difference occuring unintentionally is all but impossible. (Please see study for original numbers, in case of my typos.)
- The electronic voting machines which were "serviced" in the two weeks prior to the election, which had glitches (e.g. vote switching) on election day, or both, overwhelmingly favored Rossi.
- I hadn't realized that WA State Secretary of State Sam Reed permitted the use of Sequoia machines without certification. That's "suboptimal".
- As Paul Lehto and others have repeatedly pointed out, it's not the citizen's job to prove fraud. The burden of proof, for fair and open elections, lies with the government, which derives it's authority from the people.
- And most alarming, to me, is Snohomish County's contract with Sequoia stipulating that vote counting is confidential and a trade secret. Fortunately, in Washington State, we have constitutional guarantees to fair, open, and verifiable elections.
Update: Changed the title to stimulate interest.