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Electronic voting under legal scrutiny in the US

Lawsuits and judicial reviews ago-go

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Voting activists have been given the go ahead to proceed with a legal challenge to the certification of the touch-screen voting machines used in 57 of Pennsylvania's counties.

Pennsylvania's Department of State had been opposing the suit, but its objections were dismissed by a Commonwealth Court on Friday last week. The state argued that the suit is based on allegations that had failed to win over other courts, and that it was only "speculation" that the machines could be tampered with, and errors otherwise occur.

But in a 4-3 majority decision, the Commonwealth Court overruled the objections and allowed the case to proceed.

Meanwhile, in Harrison County, Mississippi, the Board of Supervisors voted to switch away from touch screen systems and return to the older scanner systems, but has been told that it must have approval from the Department of Justice before the switch can be made.

The Associated Press reports that poll workers have struggled to get the new touch-screen machines to work properly. Problems with print canisters and batteries were reported during the November elections.

But a DoJ review could take up to 120 days, according to reports, putting pressure on those preparing for party primaries in August.

Democrat Harry Ferguson says he'd like to keep the touch screen system. "Our first concern is preparing for the upcoming Democratic primary...but in fact has to be prepared 45 days prior to that, which gives us about a 30 day window here," he told AP. ®

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