Thursday, July 1, 2004

Tentative U.S. court ruling in favor of Kevin Shelley's decertification orders

Tentative ruling, U.S. District Court, Central District

Judge Florence-Marie Cooper of the U.S. District Court (Central District) issued a tentative ruling on June 30 in the Benavidez v. Shelley lawsuit. This lawsuit (it was originally two lawsuits) was filed by several disability rights groups, including the American Association for People with Disabilities (AAPD), and four California counties (Riverside, San Bernardino, Plumas and Kern) protesting CA Secretary of State Kevin Shelley's April 30 touchscreen decertification orders and moratorium on the purchase of new, paperless e-voting systems.

The judge has tentatively ruled that "The Court has determined that Plaintiffs have not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits as to any claim in this action. Defendant's decision to decertify touch-screen voting machines and to withhold further certification until he is satisfied that manufacturers have complied with specified conditions is a reasonable one. It is based on studies conducted and information gathered which convinced him that the voting public's right to vote is not adequately protected by the systems currently in place. Plaintiff's Request for Temporary Restraining Order, or, in the Alternative, Preliminary Injunction, is denied".

Judge Cooper will hold a hearing on this case tomorrow, July 2 at 9 a.m. at the Roybal Federal Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles, courtroom 750.

Judge Cooper's tentative decision is potentially very good news for California voters. We should know after tomorrow's hearing what her final decision will be. The California Voter Foundation, Verified Voting Foundation, Electronic Frontier Foundation and Voters Unite! submitted an amicus brief in this case arguing that it should be dismissed. Our brief, surreply and other legal documents relating to this case are available online from

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