Lawsuit challenges electronic voting in Texas
to keep Travis County from using its electronic voting system in upcoming
elections, an Austin civil rights group
claims in a lawsuit filed Wednesday
that the system violates state law because it doesn't produce paper ballots.
Electronic voting systems don't allow
for transparency and could potentially lead to voter fraud, said members of
Texas Civil Rights Project after the group filed a lawsuit against the
Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams and Travis County Clerk Dana
Nearly 95 counties in Texas and 26
states currently have paper ballots in conjunction with electronic voting
systems, which became mandatory in all elections nationwide after the
passage of the Help America Vote Act in 2002.
Hart InterCivic eSlates provides
electronic voting systems for half of all registered voters in Texas and, in
addition to Travis County, also has distributed systems to Harris and
Tarrant Counties, where a computer malfunction counted an additional 100,000
votes during a primary in March.
"Imagine walking into a bank and
depositing money without getting a record of your transaction," said Nelson
Linder, the Austin president of the NAACP. The lawsuit states that the use
of electronic voting machines violates Texas' Constitution and Election
Code. The petition also asserts that requiring paper ballots in addition to
electronic systems would reduce voting fraud and provide for more accurate
The Texas Civil Rights Project, which
is acting as attorney on behalf of the plaintiffs, has so far only filed
lawsuits in Travis County and hopes that this is the only step necessary in
moving the state Legislature into action.
The lawsuit claims that more than half of states — but not Texas —
require electronic voting systems to produce paper copies.
Hart's company has a machine that also prints paper ballot
results. It is being reviewed by Williams' office for use in Texas
elections, and DeBeauvoir said she'll present the option to the
community if it's approved.
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