Colorado Voters File for Injunction to Halt Use of DRE Computerized Voting Systems in November Elections
Secretary of State has failed to provide evidence that she lawfully certified and tested dubious DRE Computerized Voting Systems
For Immediate Release: Denver, Colorado, June 28, 2006
– A non-partisan group of Colorado voters concerned with election integrity has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to halt the use of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) computerized voting systems in the state’s November 2006 elections. The motion, filed in Denver District Court, is based on well-documented security, accuracy, reliability, and verifiability problems with DRE computerized voting systems and the failure of Colorado Secretary of State Gigi Dennis to follow testing and certification procedures required by Colorado law and her own rules. The motion is supported by declarations from three of the nation’s leading experts on electronic voting technology, security, and standards.
Colorado counties, including Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Douglas, Jefferson, La Plata, Larimer, and Weld, are planning to use DRE computerized voting systems manufactured by Diebold Election Systems, Sequoia Voting Systems, ES & S, and Hart InterCivic. The Denver law firm of Wheeler Trigg Kennedy LLP is representing the Colorado voter plaintiffs. A copy of the motion is available on www.voteraction.org.
“These unreliable and insecure DRE computerized systems have disrupted elections across the country, and have created a crisis in voter confidence,” said Paul Hultin of Wheeler Trigg Kennedy LLP, counsel to the Colorado voters. “The Secretary has violated her duties to Colorado voters and put County Commissioners and voters at risk by failing to prepare and provide complete certification reports explaining why the dubious DREs have been approved in the face of substantial scientific and real-world evidence that they do not work as advertised.”
“Picture the card game ’52 Pickup’ with thousands of pages dumped on the floor, shuffled, and then boxed in random order. That vision would reflect the chaos of the documents received from the Secretary’s office in response to our request for certification documents,” said Mike Williams, co-counsel, Wheeler Trigg Kennedy LLP.
“The documents were a chaotic mess and were grossly incomplete. The documents do not address the published reports of security vulnerabilities and reliability problems with DREs in California, Maryland, New Mexico, Ohio, and elsewhere,” Williams commented.
The Secretary of State is required by law to appoint experts to help Colorado with electronic voting machine testing, evaluation, and certification. The Secretary is also required to prepare a report on the electronic voting system and its operation within 30 days of certifying the system. As of the date of filing of the motion for preliminary injunction, no final reports have been provided. The DRE manufacturers rely on secret reports prepared by so-called Independent Testing Authorities who work for and are paid by the DRE manufacturers.
Nationally renowned electronic voting and computer security experts Dr. Aviel D. Rubin, Professor of Computer Science and Technology, and the Director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Douglas W. Jones, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Iowa, and Dr. Dan Wallach, Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Computer Security Laboratory at Rice University, provided sworn declarations that the DREs present unprecedented and unacceptable security and operational risks. Drs. Rubin, Jones, and Wallach will testify at an evidentiary hearing to be scheduled before Judge Lawrence Manzanares of the Denver District Court. The declarations of Drs. Rubin, Jones, and Wallach are posted in the Colorado section of the Voter Action web site, www.voteraction.org.
“Some of the security risks with these machines are so high that it is unconscionable that their manufacturers, who have known of the problems for years, have not taken the necessary steps to correct them,” said Dr. Jones of the University of Iowa. “For example, we now know that Diebold has been aware of a recently publicized and egregious security risk with its voting system technology for nearly two years and did not correct it.”
“The motion includes testimony from three of the nation’s leading experts in the area of electronic voting and security who together have decades of experience testing, researching, and advising top Federal and State agencies, Congressional Committees, and the Department of Defense on computer security,” said Andy Efaw of Wheeler Trigg Kennedy, co-counsel for Plaintiffs. “Their independent research, and evidence from elections around the country, makes a compelling case that DRE computerized technology is inherently unreliable and insecure.”
Dr. Rubin is author of Brave New Ballot (Random House, 2006), among several other books, and is co-founder of Independent Security Evaluators, a security consulting firm. He serves on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Information Science and Technology Security Group. He also serves as Director of A Center for Correct, Usable, Reliable, Accurate, and Transparent Elections (ACCURATE), funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. His complete biography is available at http://avirubin.com.
Dr. Jones’s extensive credentials include membership on the Iowa Board of Examiners for Voting Machines and Electronic Voting Systems from 1994 to 2004, and testimony on electronic voting technology before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology. He has been an advisor to the FEC and Miami-Dade County on problems with electronic voting systems and applicable standards. He is also a principal investigator for ACCURATE.
Dr. Wallach is Associate Professor of Computer Science at Rice University where he directs the Computer Security Lab. He has received four grants from the National Science Foundation. He also serves as Associate Director of ACCURATE.
“Paper ballots don’t break down or fail to boot up,” said Lowell Finley, election law expert, and Co-director of Voter Action. “They also cost less, are more accessible, and provide the added benefit of a permanent record. Significant numbers of voters are being disenfranchised by electronic voting systems that lose massive numbers of votes, switch votes, or malfunction in ways that disrupt balloting or cause election-day chaos. Optically-scanned paper balloting provides the best assurance that we can access the voter’s true intent, which becomes even more critical in a recount situation.”
“The national debate on electronic voting system security and reliability is fundamentally over,” said Holly Jacobson, Co-director of Voter Action. “What remains to be decided is what Colorado and other states should do to secure the vote for their citizens. Optically-scanned paper balloting has been selected by states such as New Mexico and Michigan because it is the best, most secure, and least costly option”.
Voter Action is a project of the International Humanities Center, a 501c3 organization. www.voteraction.org