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NC Judge Throws Out Diebold E-Voting Case

EFF Convinces North Carolina Judge To Throw Out Diebold E-Voting Case

E-Voting Company Forced to Comply with Election Transparency Laws

Raleigh, North Carolina - Responding to arguments made by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a North Carolina judge today told Diebold Election Systems that the e-voting company must comply with tough North Carolina election law and dismissed the company's case seeking broad exemptions from the law.

EFF intervened in the case earlier this month, after Diebold obtained a broad temporary restraining order that allowed it to evade key transparency requirements without criminal or civil liability. The law requires escrow of the source code for all voting systems to be certified in the state and identification of programmers. In today's hearing, the judge told Diebold if it wanted to continue in the bidding process for certified election systems in the state, it must follow the law and if it failed to do so, it would face liability.

"The North Carolina legislature showed great leadership and courage in passing one of the most robust voting machine transparency laws in the country," said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "The court decision reiterates what EFF had been arguing on behalf of our client all along: Diebold is not entitled to special rules."

EFF intervened in the case on behalf of North Carolina voter and election integrity advocate Joyce McCloy, with assistance from Don Beskind and the North Carolina law firm of Twiggs, Beskind, Strickland & Rabenau, P.A. EFF argued that Diebold had failed to show why it was unable to meet election law provisions requiring source code escrow and identification of programmers, and asked the court to force Diebold and every other North Carolina equipment vendor to comply.

Diebold could appeal the ruling, go forward with its bid, or withdraw from the process. However, Diebold told the court that it would likely withdraw the bid if the company did not have liability protection.

North Carolina experienced one of the most serious malfunctions of e-voting systems in the 2004 presidential election when over 4,500 ballots were lost in a voting system provided by Diebold competitor UniLect Corp. The new transparency and integrity provisions of the North Carolina election law were passed in response to this and other documented malfunctions that have occurred across the country.

The North Carolina Board of Elections is scheduled to announce winning voting equipment vendors on December 1, 2005.

For the brief filed in the case:
http://www.eff.org/Activism/E-voting/20051117_Diebold_v_NC_Motion.pdf

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