Wednesday, January 16, 2008

SoS Debra Bowen's post-election audit rules challenged by counties

Last year, Secretary of State Debra Bowen implemented stricter post-election auditing requirements following her office's "top to bottom" review of several California voting systems, which were found to have numerous security risks.

Just before the holidays, San Diego County announced it was suing the Secretary of State, claiming she exceeded her authority in implementing these requirements. Three other counties -- Kern, Riverside and San Bernardino -- have joined in the suit, which will be heard tomorrow.

For those of us involved in Kevin Shelley's efforts to implement a voter-verified paper audit trail requirement, this whole episode is like a deja vu. Several counties balked at Shelley's paper trail requirement, which inevitably was codified into law after it unanimously passed the legislature. A few counties sued, and argued in the courts in 2004 that Shelley had overstepped his authority; Shelley won and the courts reaffirmed his broad authority as Secretary of State to determine the terms under which voting systems can be used in California. (See Judge Florence Marie Cooper's 2004 decision.) This December 19, 2007 San Diego Union-Tribune article provides additional details about the current lawsuit.

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