April 18, 2014

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Appeal filed in NJ voting-machines lawsuit

Paperless (DRE) voting machines went on trial in New Jersey in 2009, in the Gusciora v. Corzine lawsuit. In early 2010 Judge Linda Feinberg issued an Opinion that was flawed in many ways (factually and legally). But Judge Feinberg did at least recognize that DRE voting machines are vulnerable to software-based election fraud, and she ordered several baby-step remedies (improved security for voting machines and vote-tabulating computers). She retained jurisdiction for over a year, waiting for the State to comply with these remedies; the State never did, so eventually she gave up, and signed off on the case. But her retention of jurisdiction for such a long period prevented the Plaintiffs from appealing her ruling, until now.

The Appellate Division of the NJ court system agreed to hear an appeal, and the Plaintiffs (represented by Penny Venetis of Rutgers Law School and John McGahren and Caroline Bartlett of Patton Boggs) filed their appeal on October 12, 2011: you can read it here.

Plaintiffs point out that Judge Feinberg made many errors of law: she improperly permitted nonexpert defense witnesses (employees of Sequoia Voting Systems) to testify as experts, she improperly barred certain of Plaintiffs’ expert testimony, and she misapplied case law from other jurisdictions. Her misapplication of Schade v. Maryland was particularly egregious: she appropriated testimony and conclusions of Dr. Michael Shamos (defense expert witness in both the NJ and the MD cases) on topics which she had barred Dr. Shamos from testifying about in the NJ case. Worse yet, it’s quite inappropriate to use these out-of-state cases in which DREs were defended, when almost every one of those states subsequently abandoned DREs even when they won their lawsuits. In the case of Schade v. Maryland, Schade claimed that Diebold voting machines were insecure and unreliable; the Maryland court decided otherwise; but soon afterward, the legislature (convinced that the Diebold DREs were insecure and unreliable) unanimously passed a bill requiring a voter-veriable paper record.

Finally, Judge Feinberg made many errors of fact. In a nonjury civil lawsuit in New Jersey, the appeals court has authority to reconsider all factual conclusions, especially in a case such as this one where there is a clear and voluminous trial record. For example, Plaintiffs presented many kinds of evidence about how easy it is to use software-based and hardware-based methods to to steal votes on the Sequoia DRes, and the State defendants presented no witnesses at all who refuted this testimony. Here, by not taking account of these facts, Judge Feinberg made reversible errors.

Comments

  1. golden says:

    Does it matter that you are an expert witness, making such blunt comments that the judge made errors of fact and law? Might not you wind up in front of this same judge again, if the appeals panel sends it back down to her?

  2. Michael says:

    There is such a thing as an absolute truth. Absolute truth is not bias. Certain things about these paperless e-voting machines are obvious. Like slot machines, they are basically just software. So I think trusting them in their current state is just clearly nuts.