On Tuesday March 5, 2013, Professor Penny Venetis of the Rutgers School of Law–Newark Constitutional Litigation Clinic will argue before the New Jersey Appellate Division and ask the court to decertify New Jersey’s insecure computerized voting machines. The case, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, Stephanie Harris, Coalition for Peace Action, etc. vs. Gov. Chris Christie, will be heard in Trenton beginning at 11:30 am. The clinic filed a lawsuit in 2004 charging that the voting machines violated the constitutionally guaranteed right to vote, as well as voting rights statutes. New Jersey passed “gold standard” legislation in 2005 and 2008 to require computerized voting machines to produce a voter-verified paper ballot. However, the State has yet to implement these statutes, leaving more than 5.5 million voters unprotected each Election Day. New Jersey is one of only six states that use computerized voting machines which cannot be audited.
During the Super Tuesday primary election in 2008, at least 37 computerized voting machines in eight counties disenfranchised dozens of voters when a bug caused the machines to present illegal ballots to primary voters. Republican Party ballots were presented to registered Democrats, and Democratic Party ballots to Republican voters. Also, in a 2011 Cumberland County election, voting machines attributed votes to the wrong candidates, causing the losers to be declared the winners.
The exact same machines used in New Jersey have been de-commissioned in California, Ohio, Nevada, and New York after they were found to be insecure. In total, 35 states have abandoned paperless computerized voting machines. All but one computer scientist agree that computerized voting systems like those used in New Jersey are vulnerable to malicious tampering and internal malfunctions. In fact, the chair of Princeton’s Computer Science Department hacked New Jersey’s voting machines, demonstrating how attackers could steal votes from one candidate and give them to another.