Success in Washington state!

Update from Paul Lehto:

As some of you probably already know, by a 3-2 vote of the Snohomish County Council in WA state, the Sequoia touch screen voting machines here will be history as of September 2006, and we will vote by mail in Snohomish, like Oregon. Comments from council members focused on cost of compliance with a new state paper trail law, problems of secret vote counting, and maximizing the opportunity and convenience of voting. Because Yakima county also ditched its DREs made by Hart Intercivic, the only two counties that had DREs in 2004 have now dumped them and none have added DREs in polling places for nondisabled voters, so Washington is DRE-Free.

(Perhaps the fact that WA state is home to votersunite.org, one home for voteraction, Andy Stephenson’s home, bbv.org’s home, Bev Harris’s home, and the home of Lehto v. Sequoia litigation gives us a leg up on some states).

These touch screens are the same ones in our study that were shown to malfunction so “well” that for machines taken out service due to ‘malfunctions’ with less than 30 votes on them, fully 50% more votes for the Republican candidate for Governor in 2004 were recorded than for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate Christine Gregoire. This Republican electronic landslide also took place in a historically Democratic County and in the closest gubernatorial race in US History (around 100 votes in 3 million cast). Of course, the paper ballots that were hand recounted and constituted 68% of the electorate throughout the county showed Gregoire winning Snohomish county by 2000 votes, but the electronic votes that comprised 32% of the vote throughout the county had Republican Rossi winning by 8,500 votes, for a net Rossi victory of around 6500 votes. The chances that voters, randomly assigned to vote electronically or paper would separate out this way is one in well over a trillion. Political factors like “late surges” are usually called on to account for such discrepancies, but in this case we have irrefutable evidence that electronic error in the malfuntioning machines disproportionately favored one party over the other. The study and my lawsuit are collected at www.votersunite.org/info/lehtolawsuit.asp

Anyway, these Sequoia machines that did this will now be put out to pasture. Some of them apparently are headed to Florida. Others may be headed to your state.

John Gideon and I had a gentleman’s disagreement over my statement that Washington state is DRE-FREE except for disabled voting. After exchanging views with John, he is focusing on the threat that DREs can come back in early voting or in one of the 5 counties that have not yet decided to switch to mail in voting. But, as of the intent of WA counties right now, we are in fact DRE-FREE except where accessibility is truly an issue.

My attorney Randy Gordon was until recently a declared candidate in the 8th congressional district in WA state, but now that there are 4 strong candidates he dropped out in favor of helping out party unity (we have a very late primary in our state). In any case, we are talking settlement with sequoia where they would stipulate to our theories of the illegality of their systems under WA law (so they
could argue it was WA only) and in exchange we’d not take their money, which we weren’t after anyway. Summary judgment on the claim that their trade secrets have been waived by taking them into the public domain is also in the works.

So, that’s the update from here.

—Paul Lehto
Attorney at Law

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