S.F. Judge Weighs Bid to Stop Electronic Voting

It appears that San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ronald Quidachay was unconvinced by Harri Hursti.

Hursti, you’ll recall, is the Finnish computer nerd who turned up a security glitch in touch screen voting machines made by Diebold Elections Systems. His discovery goes to the heart of a lawsuit, Holder v. McPherson 06-506171, that aims to pull the plug on the machines before the November election, claiming they are vulnerable to hackers.

This morning, Quidachay gave lawyers for a nonprofit organization called Voter Action an hour to argue for a preliminary injunction against the Diebold machines.

“We definitely had a full argument, but in the end the judge essentially stuck with his tentative ruling (denying the injunction) without further explanation,” said lead plaintiff John Eichorst, a partner at Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin.

The decision all but assures the Diebold machines will be in use this fall in several California counties, including Los Angeles and San Diego. Voter Action attorney Lowell Finley said his group hasn’t yet decided on an appeal.

Next up: Alameda County’s electronic voting machines, made by an East Bay company called Sequoia Voting Systems. Voter Action is pressuring county officials to conduct security testing on those machines. Based on a letter (.pdf) recently posted to the Voter Action Web site, expect the group to be back in court soon.

Matthew Hirsch

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