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Appellate Division to Hear Constitutional Litigation Clinic Argument on De-Commissioning of Electronic Voting Machines

May 23, 2006 – 
On Wednesday, May 24 at 11:30 am at the Morris County Courthouse, Professor Penny Venetis of the Constitutional Litigation Clinic at Rutgers School of Law–Newark will ask the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey to de-commission the State’s electronic voting machines. This lawsuit is the nation’s only lawsuit challenging electronic voting machines to have survived a motion to dismiss.

In April, after a four-day trial, the trial court judge found that the almost 10,000 electronic voting machines currently in use in New Jersey cannot be upgraded to produce a voter-verified paper ballot by January 1, 2008 ― the deadline set by the Legislature for upgrading the machines. This means, noted Venetis, that unless the machines are de-commissioned, New Jersey voters will continue to vote on insecure and unreliable machines that can be readily manipulated. She added that the electronic voting machines used in New Jersey have been de-commissioned because of their unreliability by California, Ohio, New Mexico, Nevada, and New York City. Recently, machines identical to those used in New Jersey malfunctioned in Chicago, causing election tabulations to be delayed for nearly a month.

The lawsuit seeking to decommission electronic voting machines was filed by the Rutgers Constitutional Litigation Clinic in 2004 on behalf of Stephanie Harris, who encountered computer malfunctions when attempting to cast her vote electronically, and on behalf of several public interest groups including the Coalition for Peace Action. Other plaintiffs include State Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (Legislative District 15), an early proponent of the voter verified paper ballot.

The hearing will take place at 11:30 am in Part H of the Appellate Division at the Morris County Courthouse, Washington & Court Streets, Morristown.