San Juan Superior Court Judge Don Eaton issued a letter March 27 ruling VoteHere MiBT (Mail-in Ballot Tracker) is an integral part of the voting system, and required to undergo certification by the Secretary of State. State law prohibits voting systems not certified under the legislature’s program of public examination and expert testing. The court did not say that the county must discontinue use of the ballot tracker software during the pendency of the case, though that may come up at a later date.
The letter is in response to a citizen suit originally brought by Orcas Island residents Tim White and Allan Rosato in 2006. The two seek to remove the unique ballot bar codes. The VoteHere MiBT, is a paperless election tracking, processing and auditing software package. A series of processing station time stamps are used to track each ballot from the time it was sent to the voter to the time it was counted.
White and Rosato decided to pursue the suit after intensive sampling of MiBT tracking data posted online by San Juan County in 2005. They say they documented anomalies suggesting inconsistent, impossible and changed ballot tracks for some ten percent of voters: ballots counted before they were received, two ballots accepted from the same voter, ballots received and counted though never sent out, and dozens received and signature-accepted but not counted. The two became even more concerned when, after they presented their findings and the election was certified, much of the inconsistent tracks were suddenly “fixed” with new entries—and then returned to its original confused state two months later.
… For Rosato, the issue struck to the core of his confidence as a voter: “Not only was the code for this proprietary software not available for public inspection, it hadn’t even gone through the voting system certification process. So how were we, as voters, to know—first of all, that the software was working properly—and second, that it wasn’t being used for other purposes, such as manipulating votes or linking voters to their votes?”
The plaintiffs say the case is spiced with charges that Secretary Reed awarded millions in no-bid contracts to the tiny company, VoteHere, whose chairman and chief lobbyist, Ralph Munro, was Reed’s mentor and campaign chair. VoteHere’s principals also included several U.S. intelligence power brokers, including Robert Gates, former U.S. Secretary of Defense and head of the CIA.