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Lawsuit Challenges E-Voting Software in Washington

Damon Gibson, Office-Manager
Libertarian Party of Washington State
PO BOX 7118
Bellevue, WA 98008

Phone: (425) 641-8247 or (800) 353-1776
Fax: (425) 641-9085

Lawsuit Challenges the Use Of "Provisional" Software in Washington

Seattle, WA – September 27th, 2004 – Attorney Richard Shepard, on behalf of the Libertarian Party of Washington State, J. Mills and Ruth Bennett, filed suit today against the Secretary of State Sam Reed and the state.

The object of the lawsuit is to have Libertarian candidates placed on the November ballot. The Secretary of State says these candidates did not qualify for the general election under Washington law.

Part of the lawsuit alleges that six counties, including voter rich King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties, used consolidated ballots; a single printed document containing candidates from all three Major political parties.

In these counties emergency WAC regulations were issued by the Secretary of State allowing the use of specially modified software to count votes. The modified software was only provisionally certified by the Secretary of State. It has yet not met rigorous federal certification standards.

The software will not be unconditionally certified as to accuracy and reliability until sometime in 2005, when the national ITA has reviewed it, and the Libertarian Party alleges it is in possession of documents suggesting the programming will never be tested. Nevertheless, the six counties using consolidated ballots went ahead and tabulated votes using the new software.

Counties that used the consolidated ballot, and the new software, experienced an extremely high percentage of voters who either invalidated their vote, or choose no party candidates.

Spokane County, with about 110,000 voters which had the 4th largest voter turnout did not use the modified software or the consolidated ballot. Spokane County had about 5% of their ballots invalidated or not cast for a Party.

Snohomish County, with about 150,000 votes cast had the 3rd largest voter turnout. It used the consolidated ballot and had over 13% invalid ballots. This trend persisted in all consolidated ballot counties.

Larey McLaren, Chair of the Libertarian Party said: “the large discrepancies between these six counties and those that used separated ballots, calls into question the accuracy of the consolidated ballot and the uncertified software used.”

Other groups have raised issues about the new software. For now, the state plans to use its modified, and uncertified, software in the general election.


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