April 16, 2014

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NJ court permits release of post-trial briefs in voting case

In 2009 the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, held a trial on the legality of using paperless direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machines. Plaintiffs in the suit argued that because it’s so easy to replace the software in a DRE with fraudulent software that cheats in elections, DRE voting systems do not guarantee the substantive right to vote (and to have one’s vote counted) required by the New Jersey constitution and New Jersey statutory law.

I described this trial in three articles last year: trial update, summary of plaintiffs’ witnesses’ testimony, and summary of defense witnesses’ testimony.

Normally in a lawsuit, the courtroom is open. The public can attend all legal proceedings. Additionally, plaintiffs are permitted to explain their case to the public by releasing their post-trial briefs (“proposed findings of fact” and “proposed conclusions of law”). But in this suit the Attorney General of New Jersey, representing the defendants in this case, argued that the courtroom be closed for parts of the proceedings, and asked the Court to keep all post-trial documents from the public, indefinitely.

More than a year after the trial ended, the Court finally held a hearing to determine whether post-trial documents should be kept from the public. The Attorney General’s office failed to even articulate a legal argument for keeping the briefs secret.

So, according to a Court Order of October 15, 2010, counsel for the plaintiffs (Professor Penny Venetis of Rutgers Law School aided by litigators from Patton Boggs LLP) are now free to show you the details of their legal argument.

The briefs are available here:
Plaintiffs’ Proposed Findings of Fact
Plaintiffs’ Proposed Conclusions of Law

I am now free to tell you all sorts of interesting things about my hands-on experiences with (supposedly) tamper-evident security seals. I published some preliminary findings in 2008. Over the next few weeks I’ll post a series of articles about the limitations of tamper-evident seals in securing elections.

Comments

  1. golden says:

    We have new voting machines in New York, as of the last election. They still don’t really meet the minimum requirements, and I even wonder if they’re better than the old mechanical machines we used to vote on. Has anyone done any analysis of these?

  2. Craig says:

    Did the trial end up changing anything?

  3. golden says:

    A Professor Appel is an Extraordinarily Qualified Witness in the
    Fields of Computer Science, Computer Security, the Sequoia
    Advantage DRE and the WinEDS System …………………………………………………… 3

    B Professor Appel has a Rock Solid Foundation for his Expert
    Opinion in this Case ………………………………………………………………………………… 8

  4. Jose_X says:

    I second the comment by Craig above. I can understand that many people might think the electronics is voodoo stuff, but there should be laws passed to add accountability. It would be nice to see something at the federal level. And we can bypass problems with specific machines if we develop the right open protocols and formats.