Lawsuit Against Maryland’s Paperless Electronic Voting System
From the time Maryland decided to move to a statewide paperless electronic voting system, questions were raised about the security of this method of voting. Two separate studies conducted by the state (see SAIC and RABA reports) confirmed numerous serious security risks of the new voting system.
On April 21, 2004, a cross-partisan group of Maryland voters filed a lawsuit against the Maryland State Board of Elections and its Administrator, Linda H. Lamone, charging that the Diebold AccuVote-TS electronic voting machines Maryland had recently purchased failed to comply with both state and federal law.
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY
Defendants: MARYLAND STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS,
This case is brought on behalf of registered Maryland voters and candidates for public office to ensure the integrity of the November 2004 elections, and to preserve public trust and confidence in the system by which Maryland voters will elect the next President of the United States. Specifically, Plaintiffs bring this action against the Maryland State Board of Elections and its Administrator, Linda H. Lamone, for improperly certifying the Diebold AccuVote-TS electronic voting machines used in Maryland, and then failing to either correct or decertify the machines -- as required by state and federal law -- once it became clear that the machines could neither preserve the security and reliability of the November 2004 election nor create a voter verified paper audit trail. This suit is filed now, well in advance of the November 2004 election, to make sure that Maryland, which lies at the epicenter of the nationwide electronic voting machine controversy, does not become the next Florida.
June 25, 2004: MOTION FOR INJUNCTION TO PROTECT THE NOVEMBER 2004 ELECTION
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to preserve the integrity of the November 2004 elections and restore public trust and confidence in the system by which Maryland voters will help elect the next President of the United States. The Maryland State Board of Elections and its Administrator, Linda H. Lamone, purchased and certified the Diebold AccuVote TS electronic voting system deployed in Maryland over the objections of its own Procurement Review Committee, and then failed to either fix or decertify the machines as required by state and federal law once numerous independent expert reports commissioned by the state of Maryland - as well as reports of widespread problems in actual elections in Maryland and nationwide - confirmed that the machines could not preserve the security and reliability of the upcoming November 2004 election.
August 9, 2004: FILING OF PETITIONS
Lawyers from Kirkland & Ellis LLP who represent eight plaintiffs in Linda Schade vs. Linda Lamone and the Maryland State Board of Elections filed petitions with the Maryland Court of Appeals seeking to force the Elections Board to either fix or decertify the controversial Diebold electronic voting systems as required by Maryland state law.
More than a half-dozen national public interest groups, including Electronic Frontier Foundation, Common Cause, American Families United, Verified Voting and many others, have filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs’ petitions, indicating the significance of this landmark case in the growing national turmoil over electronic touch screen voting systems.
August 25 - 27, 2004: COURT HEARING ON MOTION FOR INJUNCTION
Transcripts for each of the three days of the trial hearing for a preliminary injunction:
Judge Manck issued a ruling [PDF 340K] on Septemeber 1, 2004, denying Maryland voters the option of paper ballots in the November election and relieving election officials of the requirement to implement basic security measures sought by the state's own experts.
An analysis of the decision by Cindy Cohn of the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
September 14, 2004: EMERGENCY APPEAL OF RULING AGAINST INJUNCTION
On September 3, 2004, the court ordered [PDF 21K] an emergency appeal to be held on September 14, 2004.
The Petitioner's Brief [PDF 3MB] for the emergency appeal provides detailed arguments for the plaintiffs' position that the Circuit Court's decision is in error.
March 9, 2007: DEPOSITION OF STATE ELECTIONS ADMINISTRATOR LINDA LAMONE
As part of the ongoing lawsuit against her in her capacity as State Election Administrator, Linda Lamone was deposed by several citizens, including Sen. Andrew Harris and Montgomery County Councilman Marc Elrich.
August 24, 2007: APPEALS COURT RULING
Maryland Court of Appeals ruling upholding the denial of the motion for a preliminary injunction by the Circuit Court in August of 2004.
CURRENT STATUS OF LAWSUIT
The original suit is ongoing, though it has been in suspended status since the General Assembly passed and Governor O’Malley signed a law requiring Maryland to switch to a voting system that provides voter-verifiable paper ballots by the 2010 Primary Election. However, since the Fiscal Year 2011 budget does not provide funding for the new voting system, that deadline probably will not be met, and the suit may return to active status.