The Texas Supreme Court has thrown out a case challenging the legality of electronic voting machines in Travis County that don’t also produce a paper trail of votes.
In a ruling released July 1, Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson wrote that the voters who complained about the machines “raise legitimate concerns about system integrity and vulnerability. But these are policy disputes more appropriately resolved in the give-and-take of politics.”
Jefferson’s opinion came in a lawsuit brought by Texas Secretary of State Esperanza “Hope” Andrade, the state’s chief elections officer. Andrade sought to overturn an appellate court’s ruling that kept alive the challenge to “paperless” electronic voting machines used in Travis County elections. Travis County’s eSlate machines are produced by Austin-based Hart InterCivic Inc.
The case originated in 2006. The plaintiffs in the case are David Van Os, a Democrat who unsuccessfully ran for attorney general in 2006; the NAACP of Austin and its president, Nelson Linder; and Sonia Santana, a Travis County voter who was a member of Van Os’ campaign committee. The four plaintiffs have been represented primarily by the Austin-based Texas Civil Rights Project.
The secretary of state said the plaintiffs had not shown their own votes actually were miscounted, so their case didn’t hold legal weight. “But the voters’ equal protection complaint is that the eSlate is susceptible to fraud and prone to malfunction, depriving them of the ability to determine whether their votes were counted,” the plaintiffs said.