Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Tuesday, July 13, 2004 6:10 am

Only the beginning

Filed under: Black-box voting — Lex @ 6:10 am

As regular readers know, I edited the book “Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century,” by Bev Harris with David Allen, which was published a few months back. Unfortunately, the release of the book wasn’t the end of the story behind the scenes.

Yesterday I read this story:

SAN FRANCISCO – Electronic voting critics are suing Diebold Inc., alleging that the hardware and software company’s shoddy equipment exposed California elections to hackers and software bugs.California’s attorney general on Friday unsealed the lawsuit, among the first e-voting cases to rely on a legal provision for whistle blowers who help the government identify fraud.

Computer programmer Jim March and activist Bev Harris, who filed the case in November, are asking the state and counties to join the lawsuit. They’re seeking full reimbursement for Diebold equipment purchased in California. State election officials have spent at least $8 million on paperless touch-screen machines.

Because the suit relies on an obscure provision called “qui tam,” March and Harris could collect up to 30 percent of any reimbursement.

“This is about money now – a case of the capitalist system at work,” said March, a Sacramento computer enthusiast. “The laws on voting products and processes are unfortunately unclear. But the law on defrauding the government is really, really clear. Going after the money trail is cleaner than going after proper procedures.”

I will have much, much more to say about this in a few days. Unfortunately, I’ve got more pressing demands on my time at the moment.

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