Earlier this year, the Texas Democratic Party sued then-Secretary of State Roger Williams in his capacity as the state's chief election officer, alleging that the eSlate touch-screen voting machines manufactured by Hart InterCivic and certified by the Secretary of State were defective and inaccurately tallied voters' intentions, depriving them of their voting rights as protected by the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, the suit alleged that the machines mis-counted so-called "emphasis votes."
Yesterday, federal district judge Sam Sparks granted summary judgment and dismissed the lawsuit. Chad Dunn, the TDP's General Counsel and the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, had this to say:“We’re disappointed in the judge’s opinion. We’re taking the time to analyze it thoroughly and we’re considering our options on how to proceed. The Texas Democratic Party continues to believe that the eSlate machine fails to record the intent of voters in a significant number of instances.”
The bottom line is this: the eSlate STILL inaccurately counts certain straight-ticket votes, but neither the courts nor the Secretary of State will, for now, do anything about it.
In this posting I mentioned a meeting local e-voting activists were having with Houston and Harris County officials over concerns about e-Slates. That meeting was similarly a total washout.
It turns out that Bill White no more gives a damn about the myriad of security issues surrounding electronic voting than any of the county's Republicans. He came off not just disinterested but passive/aggressively hostile to the idea of asking a local expert in the field -- Rice University professor Dan Wallach -- to head a nonpartisan committee to oversee testing and make any security recommendations. He considered this request an attempt to "sell him a vendor".
Disappointing, but not unexpected by this first-hand observer. Perhaps the mayor was fatigued at the end of a long day which included Hurricane Dean preparedness meetings, but I'm not capable of giving him the benefit of the doubt based on things I heard about his lack of interest in advance of our conference.
Since neither the courts nor elected Democrats care to address these concerns, the emphasis on voting integrity by necessity now shifts to other areas of GOP voter suppression tactics.Much more to write about this topic in the months to come.