The plague spreads to New Mexico

Santa Fe County chooses new voting machines
By JULIE ANN GRIMM | The New Mexican
December 6, 2005

Despite an 11th-hour protest from people who question the security and effectiveness of new electronic voting machines, Santa Fe County Clerk Valerie Espinoza has ordered touch-screen voting machines to comply with a federal mandate.

New Mexico Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron gave the state’s 33 county clerks until today to decide which of three state-approved machines they prefer. Espinoza said Monday that she told the secretary’s office last week to order touch-screen machines called Sequoia Edge.

Espinoza requested 56 of the machines, one for each county polling place, as required by the federal Help America Vote Act, she said.

The machines — aimed at creating equal voting rights for disabled voters and those who do not speak English — are at the center of controversy still swirling from the 2004 general election.

Lowell Finley, a California lawyer who successfully sued voting-machine manufacturer Diebold, has teamed up with Albuquerque attorney John Boyd in a lawsuit against the secretary of state on behalf of eight New Mexico voters who say the Sequoia Edge touch-screen machines malfunctioned in Bernalillo County and other counties in New Mexico.

The lawsuit, currently in discovery in the state’s 2nd Judicial District Court, also seeks to prohibit the state from using Sequoia’s touch-screen machines again.

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